Target: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Goal: Revoke sweeping laws against protest demonstrations in Ukraine
Following nearly two months of protests, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has approved a sweeping law against public protests. Effective immediately, the new legislation could lead to the arrest of many of the hundreds of protesters occupying Kiev’s Independence Square and City Hall.
The new legislation allows arrest of protesters wearing masks or helmets, and sets a five year prison sentence for demonstrators that blockade a public building. “Mass violation” of public order is punishable by 15 years imprisonment, a broad and undefined term that could be interpreted to include a wide variety of actions.
The laws ban the unauthorized use of stages, podiums, tents and microphones or other amplifiers in demonstrations, items which have played a large role in current pro-European Union demonstrations. Those that provide these items to demonstrators now face a fine or police detention.
Protests involving five or more cars, a protest form labeled “Automaidan” by the Ukrainian demonstrators, have been outlawed after an increase in motorcades outside of government offices and residences. Dissemination of slander toward politicians on the internet is now punishable by up to a year of corrective labor.
Instead of the regular electronic voting system, the law was passed in parliament by a show of hands vote, a move which opposition finds improper. These laws, intended to hamper the escalation of an ongoing political crisis, are repressive and anti-democratic. Demand that all new legislation that abridges the right to protest be immediately repealed.
Dear Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych,
You recently approved a sweeping anti-protest law in light of nearly two months of opposition protests. This law will impose prison sentences to those that blockade public buildings, and allow the arrest of protesters wearing masks or helmets. Stages, amplifiers, and tents have been banned to those that do not have authorization, and providers of these items face a hefty fine and possible detainment by police. Mass violation of public order is punishable by 15 years in prison, while slandering a politician over the internet could result in up to a year of corrective labor.
This new legislation is clearly intended to quell rising political opposition to the current leaders. These new laws could result in the arrest or detention of many of the hundreds of protesters that continue to demonstrate in Kiev’s City Hall and Independence Square. I demand that these anti-democratic and oppressive laws be repealed, and that Ukraine’s government preserve citizens’ right to peacefully demonstrate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ryan Anderson via Creative Commons