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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Anti-Kuchma Protestors Harassed

KIEV, Ukraine - The organizers of anti-presidential protests in Ukraine complained Friday that the authorities have started to harass them, breaking up their tent camps and shadowing activists.

In the northeastern industrial town of Kharkiv, armed people dressed in the uniforms of an elite police unit tore down the protesters' three tents at the main Freedom Square before dawn.

Two protesters were slightly injured and three were taken away, to be later found in a police office, according to lawmaker Volodymyr Mykhin of the opposition Socialist Party.

Mykhin told Interfax that a city court will be ruling about the protest's legality, and did not exclude the possibility of a court complaint against those who attacked the camp. Police had no immediate comment.

Another activist, Yuriy Lutsenko, said unknown people in two cars started to shadow his vehicle in the capital Kiev Thursday, "pursuing our car throughout Kiev."

Lutsenko also told Interfax that police in the western town of Ivano-Frankivsk allegedly prevented the protesters from setting up a tent camp, confiscated their tents and detained one activist.

Demonstrations and other protests against President Leonid Kuchma, held under the slogan of "Ukraine without Kuchma," began in December and were sparked by allegations that Kuchma was involved in the disappearance of an opposition-minded journalist.

The actions resumed this week after New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.

The protesters, an unlikely mix of Kuchma's foes both from the leftist and nationalist camps, have set up tent camps in several Ukrainian cities but have not managed to attract major following. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated to support Kuchma across Ukraine, though critics claimed that many state workers and students were forced to attend.