Anti-Russian Protesters March on Ukrainian Parliament

Anti-Russian Protesters March on Ukrainian Parliament

On Monday, several dozen angry Ukrainian protesters marched from Independence Square to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) building with tires, clubs, and even machete in hand to demand the resignation of Interior Minster Arsen Avakov. 

They believed Avakov has been weak and ineffective in expelling pro-Russian gunmen from occupied buildings throughout Donetsk Obast, an eastern region of Ukraine. 

The demonstration intensified as masked, military-outfitted protesters lit tires on fire and exploded a stun grenade. It remains unclear who these masked men were, though some reports identify them as members of the far-right self-defense group Right Sector. 

Right Sector’s press secretary, Artem Skoropadsky, immediately denied responsibility for the demonstration on his Facebook. However, he wrote, “masked men are not Right Sector… [They are] simple Ukrainians… who want to see Right Sector in the new government because we are willing to attempt to stifle the [alleged Russian] coup in the East [Ukraine].” 

Peaceful demonstrators engaged in verbal disputes but failed to dissuade the masked men from setting fire to tires before the protests quietly dispersed.