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Beyond Violence Calls For Immediate Halt To Violence In Ukraine


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Press image Beyond Violence has noted with disdain the escalation of violence in the situation in Ukraine, where protesters and police are locked in a tense standoff. The violence has turned Maidan Square, an area in central Kyiv, into a virtual war zone with police using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against protesters, some of which are hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. People are being kidnapped, tortured or beaten to death. Ukrainians are finding it more difficult to express their views and solicit support from external bodies. Mobile communication, as well as social media, has been placed under surveillance, websites are being constantly blocked and people are receiving notifications about being identified as extremists.


Since violence started in Ukraine on Sunday night following the Ukrainian government's failure to engage in real dialogue, heightened by the passage of anti-democratic legislation on 16 January, some people have lost their lives. And with the international reaction seemingly not strong enough to have even the smallest influence on the events, there seems to be no end in sight to the horrendous acts.


Beyond Violence condemns the violence of the Ukrainian government forces as well as their lack of readiness for dialogue and calls on governments, especially those meeting at the World Economic Forum, to acknowledge the violence and to pressure the government to accept a temporary ceasefire and engage in peaceful dialogue.


“We are absolutely against the use of violence against protestors and we can state this in a very strong fashion,” says the executive director of Beyond Violence, Tim Williams. “The use of force is never legitimate in this context. We want a culture of non-violent protest which is not obliterated by the security forces. While we agree that most violence is occurring from the security forces, we equally note that individual protestors engaged in violence is also not acceptable.”