17:40 20.01.2014

Kyiv police acted not as heavy-handedly as permitted by law - ministry

2 min read

Law enforcement officers have the right to use firearms during mass disturbances but during the Sunday standoffs the police did not act as harshly as they are allowed to by the law, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said.

"During yesterday's mass disturbances the police had the right to use firearms. This is envisaged by article 12 of the Ukrainian police law," Oleh Matveitsov, head of the Directorate for Mass and Sporting Events at the ministry's Department for Public Safety, was quoted as saying in the ministry's press statement on Monday.

During the mass disturbances in Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv on Sunday "the police did not act as harshly as they are allowed to in such a situation by the law," Matveitsov said.

"Only special means of active defense normally used to maintain public order were applied against those who actively acted unlawfully. In particular, these are tear gas, special rubber-bullet non-lethal weapons and stun grenades," the Interior Ministry said.

Water cannons were used to put out the fire on the burning buses and not against the protestors, the ministry said.

"Since the activists came to the European Square with incendiary mixtures, fires and other pyrotechnics, and set police vehicles and other objects ablaze, the law enforcers used water cannons to extinguish the fire and stop it from spreading," Matveitsov said.

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