Angry protesters are demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko after an opposition journalist was badly beaten by unknown attackers.
They marched to the ministry in Kyiv, where they also denounced President Victor Yanukovych and insisted that the attack on Tetyana Chornovol is far from an isolated case.
“At least 51 journalists have suffered over the past month,” said civil activist Natalya Sokolenko. “And the Interior Minister is personally responsible for that. His men are supposed to ensure public order.”
Giving a first extended interview from her hospital bed, investigative journalist Chornovol has suspicions about why she was attacked.
“Before being beaten, I had filmed the Interior Minister’s residence and the residence of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General and I think that this car started to chase me after I left the prosecutor’s place,” she said. “And then some time ago, I discovered that the Ukrainian President also has another residence, not the one we know but another, more luxurious one.”
The 34-year-old blogger, who was chased down in her car and beaten outside the capital, is a thorn in the side of Ukraine’s political elite.
Filming luxury residences, Chornovol has waged a campaign to expose what she says is the opulence of those in power.
The attack, shortly after midnight on Wednesday, came hours after she posted pictures online of what she said was Zakharchenko’s home.