EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine (Jan. 23 live updates)

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Editor’s Note: Anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrations began in Ukraine on Nov. 21, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to abandon closer ties with the European Union in favor of Russia, which in December offered him a $15 billion bailout and 33 percent discount on imported natural gas. The demonstrations turned deadly on Jan. 22, when five protesters were killed, including four from bullet wounds, during a police assault on the crowd. More than 300 were reportedly injured. The tense standoff remains on Jan. 23 on Hrushevskoho Street near Dynamo Stadium.

Live video coverage from Espreso TV of the EuroMaidan protests can be found here

Ukraine police strip, beat, humiliate Euromaidan protester in #Kyiv in sub-zero temps 

Mayor of Lviv addresses the city residents

6: 10 p.m. Mayor Andriy Sadoviy condemned violence, said that the city mourns the dead and that all expenses and organization of funeral for activist, native Lviv resident Yuroy Verbytskiy, will be handled by the city. He also asked the citizens not to block the public transport to make sure that women with children whose husbands left for Kyiv could access doctors by public transport.”And to wrap it up, none of the laws that violate the constitution of Ukraine and common sense will ever apply on the territory of Lviv city. Good health to everyone. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” –Katya Gorchinskaya

More photo evidence of police torture

5:00 p.m. More photo evidence of police torturing their victims is being leaked on the Internet. The video and photos are of good quality and taken in close proximity to the victims, inside the government quarter surrounded by the police, which indicates that the leak comes from inside the police force. These pieces of evidence suggest a growing discontent within the ranks of officers. —Katya Gorchinskaya

Photo and video evidence of police using torture against protesters are being leaked on the internet. The photo is taken on Jan. 22

VIctims of police torture who were forced to stand on their knees in the snow. The photo is taken on Jan. 22.

4:40 p.m. A video leaked on YouTube shows special Interior Ministry troops torturing and humiliating a Euromaidan activist in Kyiv’s Pechersk region. We are posting a link to the video becaus it is graphic. You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/z0zD3pOG-Tk

Unconfirmed reports of third regional council being stormed by protesters

3:58 p.m. Several twitter users are reporting that the third regional council is being stormed in Ukraine. “Zhytomyr is next! Activists broke through to the building!” tweets @WilloftheNation user. The report thus far has not been confirmed independently. —Katya Gorchinskaya

Two regional councils taken over by protesters

3:39 p.m. The Lviv and Rivne regional councils in western Ukraine were taken over by protesters, Ukrainian media reported.  According to Zaxid.net, a crowd of around 2,000 stormed into the building of the regional administration earlier today, shouting “Revolution! Coming in!” Oleg Salo, head of the regional council, a presidential appointee, signed a letter of resignation as a result of the takeover by 2 p.m.

People storm into the Lviv regional council on Jan. 23.

Just an hour later, protesters took over the regional council building in Rivne, but there are few details available. —Katya Gorchinskaya

Yanukovych asks for an emergency parliament session, speaker agrees

3:35 p.m. President Viktor Yanukovych asked Speaker Volodymyr Rybak to call an emergency parliament session.

“You know that the riots that have occurred recently, were accompanied by violence, bloodshed, arson . That is, the present situation requires immediate settlement,” the president said, according to his press service. In response Verkhovna Rada Speaker Rybak said: “There are so many issues that must be resolved not on Maidan and should be addressed in the session hall. Indeed, the opposition and the majority need to gather and review the issues that have come up: the resignation of the government and the law, which Parliament passed. ” —Katya Gorchinskaya

AutoMaidan leader still missing

3:12 p.m. — AutoMaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov is missing, according to Batkivshchyna member of parliament Volodymyr Yavorivsky and AutoMaidan activist Serhiy Poyarkov. Poyarkov says a missing person report has been filed 30 minutes ago. Poyarkov last spoke with Bulatov before lunch yesterday. His phone rings, but there is no answer. Anotehr member of parliament, Valeriy Holovko, says six of the beaten and detained activists are in the Darnytsa police station, rather than the hospital. Yavorivsky said that about 30 AutoMaidan activists are either not in contact with the group, detained or hospitalized. — Mark Rachkevych 

The beating of Vlad Tsilitski

2:29 p.m., Jan. 23 — EuroMaidanPR, the informational service of the anti-government demonstrators, continues to document cases of alleged police brutality and harassment on its website here and on its Facebook pagehere. They recently wrote about the charges against Vlad Tsilitski, an exceptional student at Kiev Polytechnic University and a programmer at Samsung. “Tsilitski was criminalized for organizing mass riots and inciting property damage, among several other crimes. Witnesses to these alleged crimes were not present at the trial. The court has decided to retain the defendant in custody for 30 days. Since Jan. 20, Tsilitski has resided in a hospital with a fractured nose, fractured jaw, bruised eye, and a concussion. He was x-rayed in handcuffs and kept behind metal bars. Only lawyers have been permitted accompany him. According to the defense, there is evidence of his innocence.” — Brian Bonner

 

Vlad Tsilitski

 

Truce holding, will last until 8 p.m. today

1:50 p.m, Jan. 23 — Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko’s request that police and protesters cease hostilities, at least until 8 p.m. today, seems to be holding. The standoff is relatively uneventful today. The political opposition is trying to persuade President Viktor Yanukovych to hold a snap presidential election this year as a way to defuse the nation’s two-month-old political crisis. If Yanukovych does not agree, opposition leaders have pledged to step up protests and enlist the support of as many people in the nation as possible. — Brian Bonner

AutoMaidan activists recount their troubles

1:38 p.m., Jan. 23 — From a briefing on last night’s ambush by police of an AutoMaidan patrol, given by co-leader Oleksandr Hrytsenko and activists Kateryna Butko and Yuriy Tebenko: 15 men attacked and beaten in Mariinsky Park; women released. All 15 AutoMaidan male activists were detained in various Kyiv police departments. Two are Oleksandr Krovtsov and Volodymyr Zelentsov. Some 9-10 vehicles have windows smashed and blown out tires. Singer Ruslana calls the attack a carefully planned ambush. — Mark Rachkevych

 

AutoMaidan activists — who lead car caravans to the luxury homes of Ukrainian officials — say police are targeting them for assaults and detention. Their cars are also vandalized, they say, as the one pictured.

 

12:01 p.m., Jan. 23 — Firefighters have managed to contain the fire and smoke from burning tires, increasing visibility across the barricades separating police from protesters. When the smoke cleared, about 1,000 police wer standing on the other side of a barricade of scorched police vehicles. Protesters continue to bring tires to the front, but have stopped throwing rocks and other ojbects at police. The protest crowd numbers about 2,000 people. — Mark Rachkevych

 

Titushki encircle U.S. embassy in Kyiv 

8:15 a.m., Jan. 23 Several hundred pro-government titushki, or hired thugs, encircled the U.S. embassy in Kyiv late on Jan. 22 and into the early morning hours of Jan. 23. The group hurled eggs at the embassy’s welcome sign and chanted held signs that warned the U.S. not to meddle in Ukraine’s affairs. —Christopher J. Miller

Video documents violent days in Kyiv from Jan. 19-22

7:38 a.m., Jan. 23 — A group of Canadian-Ukrainians have put together a video of the recent violent days in Kyiv that have unofficially claimed the lives of five protesters, injured at least 300 people and led police to detain 75 demonstrators. — Brian Bonner

 

A video of the recent violent days in Kyiv

EuroMaidanPR advises on how to get around internet censorship

6:44 a.m., Jan. 23 — The website of the official EuroMaidanPR service is warning that the Ukrainian government might impose censorship and is educating people on how to evade restrictions. “Hi Ukraine. A bit of IT support from far-away Denmark. Below I am introducing tools that may aid in accessing the internet in case of a partial block or censorship. They were made for China, but if Yanukovich is trying something similar, there is no reason they should not also work well in Ukraine. I urge you to install them today, as they may be hard to get once the blocking is on.” More information can be found on the EuroMaidanPR website

 

EuroMaidan PR says Vinnytsya police refuse to go to Kyiv

6:11 a.m., Jan. 23 — Vinnytsya riot-control police refused to go against Ukrainians as news comes from all over Ukraine that riot police and military are being mobilized to go to Kyiv to quell EuroMaidan demonstrations, according to EuroMaidan PR, the English-language information service of the demonstrators.— Brian Bonner

 

EuroMaidanPR reports internet, TV outages

6:07 a.m., Jan. 23 — “People from many Kyiv districts and all over Ukraine inform that some TV channels which show EuroMaidan events were blocked. Besides during the evening of Jan. 22, some people in Kyiv had no TV broadcasting and internet access; some had no access to social media,” according to EuroMaidanPR, the English-language information service for the demonstrators. — Brian Bonner

 

Police raid Red Cross first-aid center on Jan. 22

5:48 a.m., Jan. 23 — The following is video with English subtitles documenting a police raid on a first-aid medical center that treats injured EuroMaidan demonstrators. — Brian Bonner

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