Retired police officers protest in Ukraine’s capital

Photo: EPA Policemen block parliament entrance during pensioners protest in front of the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, 14 July 2021. Pensioners of different power structures gathered in Kiev to demand recalculation and increasing their pensions.

A crowd of retired police officers tried to storm Ukraine’s parliament Wednesday and blocked several streets in the capital Kiev during a protest demanding higher pensions.

Former police officers rammed through a metal barrier fencing off the parliament and tried to access the building’s entrances. Officers used tear gas to deter the protesters.

The demonstrators later blocked two streets near the parliament and the government buildings in the center of Kiev, paralyzing traffic.

The demonstration of about a thousand people took place the day after Ukraine’s longtime interior minister, Arsen Avakov, submitted his resignation without disclosing the reasons behind the decision to step down. The interior minister is responsible for law enforcement in Ukraine.

Avakov, 57, has been widely viewed as one of the most influential Cabinet members in Ukraine. He has served as interior minister in four different governments and under two presidents, holding on to the post despite frequent government reshuffles and numerous corruption allegations.

Parliament must accept his resignation for it to take effect, and lawmakers may consider it on Wednesday or Thursday.

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