Target: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Goal: Protect the rights of peaceful protesters, by ensuring police do not resort to violence
Following a brief skirmish between police and Ukrainian protesters, human rights activists are urging both sides to avoid resorting to violence. The skirmish involved police breaking down barricades that were erected by protesters, trying to enter the city hall which the opposition had occupied for a week, and hurting the protesters with their hands or tear gas. Several people were reported injured on both sides.
In November of 2013, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets when an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union fell through. If the agreement had passed, it would have placed Ukraine one step closer towards integrating with the European Union. A month following the start of the protest, police used excessive force to disperse protesters and injured several. Witnesses have seen riot police grabbing people at random and dragging them to parked police vans. Other protesters have been arrested and charged with minor hooliganism. The Prime Minister has assured the public that excessive force will not be used by the police. Though so far the instances of violence have been isolated, there is a real danger that more violence could erupt between protesters and police.
Ukraine is a part of a treaty that ensures their citizens have the right to freedom of speech and assembly. Therefore, unless the police are in a life threatening situation, they have to use discretion when handling protesters. The police are also not allowed to exacerbate the situation. Sign this petition to call on the Prime Minister to keep his promise and protect the safety of protesters.
Dear Prime Minster Mykola Azarov,
I have become aware of the situation in your country, where thousands of Ukrainian citizens have taken to the streets to protest the falling out of an agreement between your country and the European Union. I am extremely grateful that you are ensuring these citizens have a say in what is happening in their country. I am also grateful you are urging your police and other authorities to not exacerbate the situation with violence. I also hope the protesters will follow this example and not respond with violence.
Please continue with this message of non-violence, as it shows that you care about your people’s safety and their opinion. I also hope that the agreement between your nation and the European Union gets resolved in a peaceful manner that satisfies all parties.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ryan Anderson via Flickr