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додано: 06-08-2004
Korespondent::: "Yanukovych Has Told Us To". How Police Arrested Students from Sumy.
Source: Korrespondent.net

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August 6, 2004 11.40 a.m.

STUDENTS ARRESTED AND BEATEN

About 150 cops took part in detaining 40 students from the city of Sumy in the Ukraine's North-East. The students were walking toward Kyiv in protest to a government decision to unite three universities into one.

Aleksandra Vesnich, the speaker for the student resistance drive, informed that the police arrested the Member of Ukraine's Parliament Vyacheslav Kyrylenko was arrested alongside with the students. "He was arrested, put into a bus against his will, broght him by his hands and legs," she said.

Vesnich informed that those detained are at a police department in Romny, Sumy Oblast. According to Nasha Ukraina Aliance, MP Kyrylenko was released in a few hours, while 15 students remained in the police departmnet.

Aleksandra Vesnich told the press that a dozen students escaped arrest and continue their walk toward Kyiv.

On Thursday evening, August 5, 2004, the students were visited by a first deputy chief of the head of presidential administration in Sumy, Mykola Sokolov [Rus: Nikolay Sokolov] and presented students with a local court ruling that prohibited walking of students to Kyiv.

Serhiy Klochko, an aide to MP Yuriy Lucenko, told the press that the students were detained around 7 a.m., four kilometers from the place of overhight camping, after the Sumy governmor Volodymyr Scherban [Rus: Vladimir Scherban] visited the students to inform and threaten them so that they stop waking down the road to Kyiv.

According to Klochko, the police has also detained a bus with 20students from Lviv that came along to show solidarity with the Sumy students.

Klochko said that the walk to Kyiv was prohibited by the ruling of a Romny, Sumy Oblast, local court. The court decided that a public walk of students alongside the road from Sumy to Kyiv through Romny is a violation of public safety.

"A MASS PUNITIVE OPERATION"

According to eyewitnesses, there were in the proximity of 150 to 200 of police officers taking part in the action. They came along in five buses and 10 police cars. The police did not show IDs and did not introduce themselves as police. The police officers have beaten the students with plastic sticks providing no explanation.

"That was a big punitive operation using at least 150 officers that came alone in several buses and ten to fifteen police cars", -- MP Kyrylenko said.

" I believe that the decision to punish students was taken in Kyiv ['s-based Ukraine's government]. I do not believe local authorities could punish own neighbours so harshly and wildly, at own will . Looks like the rpesidential cndidate [and Ukraine's PM] Viktor Yanukovych is directly responsible for that decision; and that the Sumy governmor made orders to the police. The special poeration was targeted at the right of an individual to express his or her opinion.", said MP Kyrylenko.

Among those arrested, there was a Kyiv-based journalist, a political oberver from a business information agency, Context (www.context.org.ua), Yevhen Kuzmenko. He did not take part in students' action but rather performed his professional duties observing the scene. However, he and his drider were told, under a threat of using force, to be seated in the car. They were arrested and delived to Romny's traffic patrol police department.

The journalist informed that the punitive action against students was managed directly by the governor Scherban. Kuzmenko was released but vowed to demain explanations from the police.

The Romny police department informed that they would not comment on the events. Spokesperson for the police said that MPs that are with students currently talk "to those in power". The spokesperson also urged "not to worry since none was detained".

"DO NOT CROSS INTO THE SUMY OBLAST"

Earlier the Sumy students informed about threats from the government officials. "We've got the informaton that Viktor Yanukovych himself telephoned Sumy [presidential] administration and warned that in case Sumy students cross the border of Sumy Oblast, than Volodymyr Scherban, the head of the administration, would loose his job", - the announcement distributed in media by students says.

A PUBLIC WALK TO KYIV CONTINUES

About 30 students continue marching on Kyiv. They move along forests. The young participants are hunted for by police officers.

Seventeen persons that wanted to escape from Sumy Oblast to Poltava Oblast were encircled, arrested, and delivered to a Nedryhayliv, Sumy Oblast, police departmnet. MP Palvo Kachur arrived to Nedryhayliv to assist those detained.

Today at 3 p.m., several pickets, including in Sumy and Kyiv, are planned for.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Óêðà¿íñüê³ íîâèíè <http://www.ukranews.com/>, ˲ÃÀ <http://www.liga.net/>, Îáêîì <http://www.obkom.net.ua/>, Glavred <http://www.glavred.info/>, ²Ì² <http://imi.org.ua/>, www.context.org.ua

BACKGROUND

On June 28, 2004, about 1,000 students, their parents and professors of Sumy universities protested against the government's decision to unite three universities -- Sumy State University, Sumy State Pedagogical University, and Sumy National Agrarian University -- into a single university. After the picket, a group of students started a long-term action, having set up a tent camp in a park in the Sumy city.

The students decided to walk to the Kyiv city.

In April 2004, president Leonid Kuchma ordered the Cabinet of Ministers to create a single Sumy National University on the basis of three other universities: Sumy State University, Sumy State Pedagogical University, and Sumy National Agrarian University.

The prime minister and Kuchma-endorsed presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych signed the order on June 17, 2004. On June 22, 2004, the Ministry of education ordered Oleksandr Carenko an acting rector [i.e., president] of the Sumy National University.

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