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Ukrainian Protesters Face Charges Of Destroying City Property

Protesters against the tax amendment at Independence Square in Kyiv on November 25
Protesters against the tax amendment at Independence Square in Kyiv on November 25
KYIV -- Police in the Ukrainian capital have launched an investigation into the alleged destruction of city property by protesters, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Thousands of small and medium-sized business owners and opposition activists protested on Kyiv's Independence Square from November 22 until December 3, with many of them camping on the square. They were challenging Ukraine's new tax code, which was adopted by the parliament in mid-November.

The protesters set up a tent camp on the square, which was forcibly closed by police on December 3. Police say that when the tents were removed they discovered that protesters had hammered iron spikes into the paving stones and caused significant damage.

Kyiv's city administration is currently calculating the damages, with a preliminary figure of some $25,000 being mentioned. An investigation was officially launched into the "premeditated destruction of city property."

One of the coordinators of the demonstration, Oleksandr Danylyuk, was summoned to police and questioned about the damage.

Demonstrations against the tax code have been held in many cities and towns.

Last week, President Viktor Yanukovych vetoed the legislation and proposed amendments to it. On December 2, parliament adopted the amended tax code -- but the entrepreneurs are also opposed to the amended version.

On December 5, Kyiv officials started erecting a temporary children's amusement park on Independence Square for Christmas celebrations.

Read more in Ukrainian here