Accessibility links

Odesa Protesters Defiant After Attack

  • RFE/RL

Protesters have rebuilt their tent camp outside the Odesa city hall and resumed their peaceful picket against Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov.

Protesters have rebuilt their tent camp outside the Odesa city hall and resumed their peaceful picket against Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov.

Ukrainian protesters demanding the resignation of Odesa's mayor in connection with reported offshore holdings have remained defiant a day after a violent attack on their camp wounded several activists.

Protesters have rebuilt their tent camp outside the Odesa city hall and resumed their peaceful picket against Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov.

They were assaulted in the early hours of April 26 by a group of about 20 men armed with baseball bats.

Three protesters suffered injuries, including head wounds and a concussion.

Security cameras in the area were turned off at the time and did not capture the attack.

Local authorities said five of the assailants have been detained.

Protesters have been camped out outside city hall since April 10 following revelations contained in the massive Panama Papers document dump that link Trukhanov to secretive transactions.

According to leaked information, the mayor is affiliated with more than 20 offshore holdings in which he identified himself as a Russian citizen even though dual citizenship is illegal in Ukraine.

Russian citizenship could complicate Trukhanov's situation in light of an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine with Russia-backed separatists and of related tensions in Odesa, the scene of a deadly tragedy with the pro- and anti-Kyiv conflict raging two years ago.

Trukhanov denies the allegations.

Protesters were assaulted in the early hours of April 26 by a group of about 20 men armed with baseball bats. Three suffered injuries, including head wounds and a concussion.

Protesters were assaulted in the early hours of April 26 by a group of about 20 men armed with baseball bats. Three suffered injuries, including head wounds and a concussion.

The protesters have pinned the attack outside city hall on Trukhanov. On April 26, they blocked entrances to the building with trash cans, fences, and tires.

The violence, which took place just days before the anniversary of the deadly clashes in 2014, has sent jitters through the southern port city.

More than 40 people were killed in Odesa on May 2, 2014, as pro-Russian activists and supporters of Ukrainian unity fought running battles across the city.

Most of the victims were Kremlin supporters who suffocated or jumped out of the windows to their deaths after the labor-union building was set on fire.

On the same night the protest camp was attacked this week, unidentified attackers launched rocket-propelled grenades at a bank in Odesa.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was appointed governor of the Odesa region a year ago, has linked these two incidents as part of what he says are efforts by Trukhanov's camp to sow fear in the city ahead of the May 2 commemorations.

Saakashvili accuses Trukhanov and his allies of deliberately turning off security cameras outside city hall ahead of the attack on protesters.

He has called on President Petro Poroshenko to dispatch the National Guard to Odesa in order to quell any unrest in the city.

Speaking in a video statement, Saakashvili said recent events in Odesa bear "all the signs of a collapse of the state."

With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and The Moscow Times
XS
SM
MD
LG