Outrage in Ukraine after brutal attack on opposition reporter
Unknown assailants have savagely beaten a critical Ukrainian journalist who has taken part in pro-EU rallies, triggering outrage among the opposition locked in a confrontation with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Kiev: Unknown assailants have savagely beaten a critical Ukrainian journalist who has taken part in pro-EU rallies, triggering outrage among the opposition locked in a confrontation with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Tetyana Chornovil, who writes for the Ukrainska Pravda opposition website, was attacked overnight yesterday outside the capital Kiev, police said in a statement, citing the journalist.
The journalist known for her critical reports about Yanukovych and top officials was driving to Kiev when she noticed she was being followed by a car.
"The driver of the suspicious car began to push her to the side. When she stopped, several men who were following her broke the back window of her car, pulled her out and started beating her," police said in a statement.
"After that she was thrown into a ditch," police said, adding she was found next to her vehicle shortly after midnight.
President Yanukovych condemned the attack and ordered Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko to find those responsible.
Police said its "most experienced" investigators were probing the attack on the 34-year-old, who has participated in weeks-long demonstrations against Yanukovych.
Chornovil herself said there were "at least two" assailants. "I started running, they began pursuing me," she said in video comments posted on the Ukrainska Pravda website.
"They were hitting me on the head, they were not saying anything, they were just hitting," said the young woman, her face bruised and swollen.
The news site said, citing relatives, that Chornovil was hospitalised with a broken nose, a concussion and multiple bruises.
The attack on the journalist comes after a local activist was stabbed in both thighs in the eastern city of Kharkiv on yesterday evening.
The latest assault caused outrage among opposition leaders, who have been locked in a standoff with Yanukovych over his decision to scrap key political and free trade agreements with the European Union last month.
Several hundred protesters today gathered outside the seat of the interior minister, calling for his resignation. Some of the protesters held up pictures of Chornovil.
"Today they nearly killed Tanya Chornovil and this should be the last drop of blood, the last manifestation of cruelty towards our people which we have all allowed through our inaction," jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko said in a statement.
"Police and bandits together are roughing up those who do not suit the authorities -- that`s what the dictatorial regimes in Africa and Latin America did," opposition lawmaker Andriy Shevchenko said on Twitter.
World boxing champion and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko posted on Twitter pictures of a bloodied Chornovil as well as of several journalists injured in recent clashes between protesters and police.