KHARKOV, February 23, 20:04 /ITAR-TASS/ About 1,500 radical protesters gathered on Freedom Square in the centre of Kharkov, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday. Hundreds of them dressed in camouflage uniforms wore helmets and were armed with baseball bats and batons.
Some extremists are painting a monument to Lenin which stands on the square with nationalistic slogans.
Hundreds of policemen who are on duty are not doing anything to pacify the crowd.
Earlier on Sunday, radically mined protesters tried to pull down a monument to Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia. However, about 3,000 local residents, including war veterans and representatives of public organizations, built a live wall around the monument saving it from the vandals.
Later on, opposition supporters filled the square after the ordinary people had left.
Monuments to Vladimir Lenin have become the targets of frequent vandal attacks over the past few months. The first monument to Lenin was destroyed in Kiev on December 8 last year when radical protesters crushed it with sledgehammers. Such incidents have become regular in all parts of Ukraine since then.
Lenin’s monument was taken down in Dnepropetrovsk, one of the biggest cities in Ukraine, last Friday. Local media reported the monument had been pulled down from its pedestal which stood on the city’s square bearing Lenin’s name.
Vandals also pulled down Lenin’s monument in Chernigov despite clashes with Communist Party supporters who tried to save the statue.
Vandal attempts to destroy monuments to Lenin have been registered in other Ukrainian cities, including Brovary, Zhitomir, Poltava and Priluki (the Chernigov region).