Beyond Kyiv: Ukrainian Protesters Seize Control Of Regional Administrations
January 25, 2014
Protests are spreading to Ukraine's regions with demonstrators seizing control of administrative buildings and, in some cases, forcing governors, who are appointed by President Viktor Yanukovych, to resign. In some cases, particularly in western Ukraine, they are meeting little -- if any -- resistance from police. In some western regions, elected regional councils, which are often dominated by the opposition, are passing legislation in support of Euromaidan protesters. The situation is fluid and is developing rapidly. Below is a brief rundown, compiled from Ukrainian media reports, of some of the key regions where protesters have seized control of regional administration buildings.
Lviv Oblast -- The Lviv regional legislature on Saturday (January 25) passed a measure disbanding the office of the regional governor and banning police, military, and security services from using force to disband protests. Chanting 'revolution,' protesters on Thursday (January 23) stormed and seized control of Lviv's regional administration and forced the governor, Oleh Salo, who was appointed by President Yanukovych, to write a statement of resignation. Protesters built barricades around the administration building and hundreds camped out inside.
Ternopil Oblast -- In the western region of Ternopil, which neighbors Lviv Oblast, protesters seized control of the Ternopil regional administration with little resistance from police.
Rivneska Oblast -- In the northwestern Rivneska Oblast approximately 2,000 people faced little resistance from police as they seized the regional administration building on Thursday (January 23). Anatoliy Yukhimenko, acting head of the regional administration, resigned shortly thereafter.
Khmelnitsky Oblast -- After 30 minutes of clashes with police on Friday (January 24), protesters in Khmelnitsky Oblast, located to the south of Rivneska, seized control of the regional administration building. After negotiations between Yuriy Smal, a leader of the local Euromaidan movement, and regional authorities, Governor Vasiliy Yadukha resigned.
Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast -- Approximately 4,000 on Saturday (January 25) stormed and occupied the regional administration building in Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine. On Friday (January 24), about 1,000 protesters held a vigil outside the building and demanded that the governor, Vasily Chudnova, resign, but he has thus far refused.
Chernivtsi Oblast -- Thousands of protesters on Friday (January 24) stormed and occupied the regional administration building in Chernivtsi, near the Ukrainian-Romanian border, and forced Governor Mykhailo Papiev to tender his resignation.
Volynska Oblast -- Governor Boris Klimchuk resigned on Friday after more than 1,000 protesters marched on and surrounded the Volynska administration building in the regional capital, Lutsk, in northwestern Ukraine. When a protest leader asked police guarding the building to stand back, one officer replied, 'We are Ukrainians --we are with the people.' The protester and the officer then embraced. Police then allowed demonstrators to enter the building.
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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