— An RFE/RL reporting crew has been arrested in Kyiv as the protests in the Ukrainian capital have escalated into street battles with riot police.
A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty crew was arrested in the capital of Ukraine on Monday, this after demonstrations continued overnight in the capital of Kyiv.
Ukrainians are protesting new legislation that introduces criminal and legislative penalties on public demonstrations and more restrictions on the Internet and mass media. It also requires some independent groups to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from foreign sources while participating in political activities.
Demonstrators are also protesting how quickly the draft law was introduced by the ruling Party of Regions on January 14, the first parliament was in session after a holiday recess. It was passed two days later. The New York-based group Human Rights Watch is insisting that the law be repealed.
RFE/RL reported that a Radio Liberty news team went to cover the demonstrations on Hrushevsky Street in Kyiv around 8:00 a.m., local time. The media outlet said members of the team came into contact with law enforcement personnel and that their broadcast was interrupted.
Radio Liberty said one of its employees received numerous contusions and abrasions, allegedly at the hands of police, just for doing his job. Officials with the news outlet said they were trying to find out why its team was detained.
The RFE/RL Ukrainian journalists describe their beatings:
Meanwhile, one of the demonstrators in Kyiv, retired Colonel Yury Boyarski, said he wanted police and officials to know that the legislation was wrong and that police should serve the people.
He said that he attended the demonstrations because riot police gave an oath to serve the Ukrainian people. He said that the authorities came and went, but the people stayed and the people always won. He said that he’s come to remind the authorities that the people wanted a peaceful Ukraine.
Dozens of people have been injured in the latest demonstrations in Ukraine. Late last year, hundreds of thousands gathered across the country to protest President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a free trade agreement with the European Union and seek closer ties to Moscow.
Protesters gather near a bus that was burned during demonstrations organized by pro-European integration supporters in Kyiv, Jan. 21, 2014.
A woman walks from police officers as they block a street during unrest in central Kyiv, Jan. 21, 2014.
Riot police block a street, as stones used by pro-European integration protesters in recent demonstrations lie on the ground in Kyiv, Jan. 21, 2014.
Riot police officers clash with anti-government protesters in central Kyiv, Jan. 21, 2014.
A pro-European protester takes a photo during clashes with Ukrainian riot police in Kyiv, Jan. 20, 2014.
Protesters shield themselves as they clash with police in central Kyiv, Jan. 20, 2014.
Protesters confront police in central Kyiv, Jan. 20, 2014.
Protesters clash with police in central Kyiv, Jan. 20, 2014.
Protesters clash with Ukrainian riot police during a pro-European integration rally in Kyiv, Jan. 19, 2014.
A protester throws a stone towards a burning police bus during clashes with police in central Kyiv, Jan. 19, 2014.