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Protesters clash with police, demand firing of corrupt prosecutors (VIDEO)

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One journalist was injured as several dozens of protesters clashed with police and burned tires in front of the Presidential Administration building in Kyiv on April 8.

The demonstrators were protesting against the appointment of certain prosecutors, police officers and
security officials who have been accused of corruption and of having links to Russia.

The police engaged in scuffles
with activists from the AutoMaidan car-based protest group in an effort to
prevent them from burning tires, which has been a symbol of revolutionary
sentiment since the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution.

The burning tires were eventually
extinguished by the police.

The activists also set up a
symbolic gallows as a warning to corrupt officials.
They demanded that the
president meet with them but he did not show up.

One journalist received a head injury when the gallows fell on him during the scuffles. Several activists said they had bruises as a result of the clashes.

The protesters said they would set up a permanent camp in front of the administration. The simultaneous closure of several metro stations in central Kyiv was linked by some activists to their rally.

Protesters clashing with the police in front of the Presidential Administration on April 8.

Corrupt prosecutors

The protesters called for the start of a transparent competition to appoint a prosecutor general trusted by society, the re-launching of prosecutorial reform, and a new vetting process for prosecutors.

They also lambasted the chief
prosecutors of Odesa, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky, Mykolayiv and
Zaporizhzhia oblasts, who are accused of corruption and of having links to the regime of disgraced
ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.

“We have collected information
on prosecutors in all oblasts, and have seen that nothing has changed (since the
Yanukovych era),”
Taisa Haida, an AutoMaidan
activist from Vinnytsa,
told the Kyiv Post.

The appointment of
controversial prosecutors triggered protests in Kyiv, Odesa, Khmelnytsky,
Kharkiv and Lviv in recent weeks.

Discredited ex-Prosecutor
General Viktor Shokin’s decision to appoint Mykola Styoyanov as the chief
prosecutor of Odesa Oblast on March 29 prompted protesters to set up a permanent
tent camp near the oblast prosecutor’s office and to block access to the building.

Stoyanov, a friend of Yanukovych’s Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonk and pro-Russian politician Ihor Markov, should be fired under the lustration law, which envisages dismissing all top
Yanukovych-era officials, according to the Justice Ministry.

Stoyanov, who is also an ally
of tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, is accused of large-scale corruption, since
his family owns several businesses, luxury cars and high-end real
estate.

Anti-separatism
or pro-separatism unit?

Another demand voiced by the protesters
is the dismissal of Vitaly Malikov, a deputy chief of the Security Service of
Ukraine (SBU) and the head of its anti-terrorism unit, which is involved in the fight against Kremlin-backed separatists.

Haida wrote on Facebook on April 7 that Dana Malikova,
allegedly Malikov’s daughter, lives in Russian-occupied Sevastopol. According to her social
networks, Malikova believes that Sevastopol is part of Russia and supports Russian
President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Crimea.

The SBU’s press office declined
to comment on whether she is indeed Malikov’s daughter, but a source at the SBU
confirmed this information.

Last year Alexei Kiselyov, an ex-member of Sevastopol city council and formerly a
EuroMaidan activist,
said that
Malikov, who was chief of Sevastopol police in 2014, had supported pro-Russian
activists and the idea of setting up
Kremlin-backed
self-defense units.

In January 2014 Malikov also voted for a resolution
urging Yanukovych to crack down on EuroMaidan protesters, calling them
“extremists,” Sevastopol’s Sevas news portal reported at the time.

Malikov has also been accused of accumulating luxury
property and high-end cars, owning commercial assets in Sevastopol, and
nepotism.

Meanwhile, Malikov’s ex-wife owns assets in
Russia and Russian-annexed Crimea, according to media reports.

Malikov denies the
accusations.

Pro-Russian police

The protesters also demanded the prosecution of ex-Vinnytsa Oblast police chief Anton Shevtsov, who was fired last month after
evidence emerged that he has pro-Russian views.

Shevtsov was subsequently
arrested on suspicion of treason, but then released.

Another police official who
must be investigated is Volodymyr Maiboros, a top police official in Chernivtsi
Oblast, the activists said. He stepped down earlier this month after evidence of his cooperation
with Russian-backed separatists was published.

Haida told the Kyiv Post that the activists were inspecting a list of 130 police officials who served in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in 2014 and could be linked to separatists.

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