Journalists and writers caught up in Ukraine violence


The above image–reportedly of Reuters photographer, Gleb Garanich, in the Ukraine during protests yesterday–has been making the rounds on Twitter and on news media sites today.

The photo serves as a reminder of the dangers that members of the press face when covering violent situations. One such incident has been reported in today’s Kyiv Post, the Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper.
According to a report by Olga Rudenko, police attacked protestors who had run into the Writers Union building in Kiev.

Earlier, the Union’s secretary, Serhiy Pantiuk, had taken a dozen women inside the building. After some young men ran inside, police broke in through the back windows and reportedly began attacking the 50 people hiding there.

“I happened to be the first one in their way,” says writer Bohdan Humeniuk. “I met them with my Writers’ Union ID in one hand, and journalism ID in other hand, and asked them to be calm down. For that they kicked me on the ribs with a club.”

People were eventually able to leave the building and Pantiuk told the Kyiv Post that the Union will ask for an official investigation into the damage caused by the police.

Reports vary on just how many journalists have been attacked in the Ukraine during the protests. Reuters reported today that 29 journalists “had suffered at the hands of police while covering the weekend events in Kiev. At least 12 of these had been beaten by riot police.”

The Kyiv Post reports that 35 journalists have been injured in harrowing circumstances.

From the Kyiv Post:

New York Times photographer Joseph Sywenkyj was injured when a piece of a sound grenade struck him in the face, his colleagues reported. Mustafa Nayem, a reporter with Ukrainska Pravda website and Hromadske TV who called people to start the protest that later turned into Euromaidan rally on Nov. 21, was hit by a rock thrown by one of the protesters and suffered the effects of tear gas.

While some journalists suffered from flying rocks, tear gas and noise grenades when being in the middle of the clash, many report they were deliberately beaten by the riot police, and showing their journalist IDs didn’t help.

Agence France-Presse photographer Serhiy Supinskiy was attacked by a riot police officer at Bankova Street as well, he said. The officer deliberately hit his photo equipment, and destroyed his flash and lens, Supinsky said.