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article imageUkrainians protest after acid attack on rights activist

By AFP     Aug 1, 2018 in World

Dozens of Ukrainians protested outside the interior ministry in Kiev on Wednesday after an anti-corruption campaigner was seriously injured in a shocking acid attack in the ex-Soviet country.

Activists demanded the ministry make public details of the growing number of attacks on civil rights activists and journalists.

Kateryna Gandzyuk, who works as adviser to the mayor of the southern city of Kherson, was leaving home on Tuesday morning when a young man poured around a litre of acid over her and ran away, Ukrainian media quoted police as saying.

Gandzyuk was immediately hospitalised in a serious condition.

Police said she has burns on 30 percent of her body, including her upper torso, arms and face.

Gandzyuk has outspokenly criticised local law enforcement agencies, especially the police.

Some of the Kiev protesters were holding posters saying: "Impunity kills. Unpunished evil flourishes."

"In four years we have seen dozens of cases end in nothing and the investigations fail to move," protester Vladyslav Grezyev told AFP.

Transparency International Ukraine, in a statement, urged an effective police investigation.

"The use of acid against a social activist in broad daylight next to her own home is a new challenge for Ukraine's law enforcement system," the organisation said in a statement.

"During the past year, we have already witnessed arson of media offices, beatings of whistleblowers (and) the splashing of activists with brilliant green," they said, referring to a type of brightly coloured disinfectant.

In recent violent attacks, independent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a car bomb in 2016 while driving near his home in Kiev.

In 2017 the stabbed body of human rights activist Iryna Nozdrovska was found in a river outside Kiev.

On Tuesday, Vitaliy Oleshko, a former volunteer fighter in the rebel Ukrainian east and a local activist, was shot dead outside a hotel in the southeastern city of Berdyansk.

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