A view of the clashes on Bankova Street.
When hundreds of riot police forces rushed on protesters at Bankova Street around 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, Serhiy Pantiuk, secretary of the Writers Union, took a dozen women inside the Union's building at 2 Bankova St. to hide them from violence.
“While I was taking the women to one of the halls, some young men, running from police, ran into the building after us and blocked the entrance. Riot police officers tried to get in. And then - I don’t know, how they knew it - but the building has windows from the back side, and they ran around the building and broke into it through the windows,” says Pantiuk.
Once inside, officers started beating everyone in the building. There were up to 50 people hiding inside.
“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.”
Union’s security man was taken out and beaten, as well as some of the people who blocked the door. According to Pantiuk, police chased defenseless people outside to the Union’s backyard, where policemen were dragging people.
To stop the beating, Pantiuk approached the officer closest to him and shouted “I’m an official!”
He was kicked, but then the officers listened to him and moved back. Later, when the situation got more calm, people left the building.
“Writers’ Union is a place with a special meaning. In times of perestroika it hosted a headquarters of Ukrainian Movement, and it was hosting people in Orange Revolution. You can’t just treat this special place this way,” says Humeniuk.
Pantiuk says the Writers’ Union will apply to prosecutor’s office to start an investigation about the damage caused by the riot police.
The police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.