A governor of a western Ukrainian region who tried to calm down a raging mob of rioters was severely beaten and handcuffed to a protest stage. His family could also be under threat as insurgents are reportedly looking for them.
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When a 30,000-strong mob attempted to storm regional police headquarters in the city of Lutsk in the Volyn region of western Ukraine, Governor Aleksandr Bashkalenko sided with law enforcement and tried to uphold the law.
Standing on the front staircase of the police building,
Bashkalenko attempted to temper the rioters. But the insurgents
began shouting “kneel down”, and then knocked him over
and seized the civil servant, while beating him from all sides.
The rioters manhandled Bashkalenko to a stage used by the opposition during rallies. They doused him with water, exposing him to the cold as revenge for police using fire-hoses to repel the attackers in Kiev, and cuffed him to the stage.
The rioters demanded Aleksandr Bashkalenko’s resignation, which he refused outright, saying that as a governor he has a real chance to prevent bloodshed in the region.
The governor was then reportedly taken to a cellar, where he was threatened to be kept under lock and key until he signs his resignation. According to other media reports his whereabouts is unknown.
A group of rioters reportedly made threats of heading towards the governor’s house to seize his children and wife in order to compel the governor to comply with their demands.
The nationalist group, Right Sector, earlier reported it burnt down the headquarters of the ruling Party of Regions and the Communist Party and captured the city hall and police headquarters. Police put up little resistance to their actions.