Ukraine: Live ammunition should not be used against protesters following four deaths
The use of live ammunition by police in Kiev would only increase what is already a highly volatile situation, Amnesty International said today after four protesters were killed and the government issued a statement saying that police may start using live ammunition.
The death of a man after being brutally beaten by two riot police officers is another example of the use of abusive force carried out with impunity Amnesty said.
The overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations in Kiev turned violent on Sunday night after the government introduced a series of new laws criminalising protests and severely limiting freedom of assembly, association and expression. The new laws came into effect at midnight yesterday.
Amnesty International's Ukraine expert Heather McGill said:
"Impunity for law enforcement officers in Ukraine is already a serious problem, and the decision to permit the use of live ammunition in this context is alarming.
“We have repeatedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice, but today’s unlawful violence by the police has led to at least one death.
"The Ukrainian authorities must do all in their power to stop the escalation of violence in Kiev before more people are killed.
“If, as they say, they are interested in a peaceful resolution of the on-going political crisis in the country they should respect the people’s rights and not seek to take away their freedoms through sweeping legislation, crushing of peaceful protest and allowing police to use abusive force with impunity.”