Feb 19th 2014, 18:01, by Mike Butcher
Ukraine is in the midst of what can only be described as violent social upheaval, as protesters occupying a central Kiev square have been killed in violent clashes with police last night.
The wider political battle — which has seen cities across Ukraine demonstrate in favor of closer ties with the European Union and against closer ties with Russia — has also been widely backed by the technology community there.
IT_Namet (in English: the ‘Tent of Informational Technologies’), the organization set up in Maiden Square, has been there since the start, providing Internet access and acting as a focal point for tech people joining the protest. But last night IT_Namet was attacked by security forces and burned overnight.
I’ve been in contact with the people running IT_Namet, but while it appears no one from the tech community was actually killed during the attack, tech professional Alexei Lymarenko was, according to colleagues, “beaten nearly to death” and has serious facial trauma. Unfortunately he was with Ukrainian journalist Veremei Vyacheslav who was, tragically, killed in the clashes with police.
The group issued the following statement calling on the tech community internationally to support them:
“From the very beginning #IT_Namet was built with the aim of a peaceful protest. Members of the IT-community never had weapons, except for tablets and smartphones connected to the Internet. So, the real purpose of security forces actions was not anti-terrorism, as it was claimed, but the destruction of unarmed people. We regret that tonight IT professional Lymarenko Alexei suffered. He was together with Ukrainian journalist Vyacheslav Veremei. Vyacheslav was killed, and Alex, who was beaten nearly to death, has serious traumas of his face. Although # IT_Namet was destroyed tonight, our beliefs and our support for peaceful protest remained unchanged. The “IT spіlnota” (IT community), which united people representing the IT industry, is expanding its activity beyond # IT_Namet. “IT spіlnota” will set out to spot the violence of authorities, to save people’s lives. Now every member of the IT-community can itself make his/her choice on the tools to protect their rights and the rights of people who yesterday were violated by their summary execution. We highly appreciate any actual support of IT-community abroad.”