StreetNet International expresses their concern about Ukrainian leader, Sister Valentyna Korobka who has on a number of occasions been assaulted verbally and physically due to her active civic position and trade union activity in Ukraine.
Last Friday, 7 February 2014, an unknown male attacked Valentyna Korobka, who is the Chairwoman of the Free trade union of entrepreneurs of Ukraine (VPPU). According to Korobka, this happened because of her civic position, trade union activity, and her active participation on the Kyiv EuroMaidan protest action.
At the end of November 2013, after the Ukrainian officials did not sign the Association Agreement with European Union, the EuroMaidan protest started thereafter to voice the people’s dissatisfaction. The protest action takes place at Maidan (Independent Square in Kyiv) where the town gathers for important events.
Valentyna Korobka, has been an active contributor of protest actions in the center of Ukrainian capital, Kiev since its inception. She has organised strikes for traders/entrepreneurs of capital markets. The market traders closed their stalls to go to Maidan to attend these protests. Korobka also regularly organises gathering support for the protesters.
According to Valentyna, on February 7, around 15:00, while on her way to the State Tax Inspectorate to submit the required reports, an unknown young male approached her near her home. She was not in the public view. He asked for the time and when she looked at her mobile phone to check the time, the stranger hit her in the face. He snatched her two phones that she was holding and dropped it to the ground and trampled them.
Korobkha said that this" titushka " followed her. (Titushka is a common name for people used in Ukraine for political purposes. They act as mercenaries for the unlawful use of force, as well as for organising provocations and brawls).
“He hit me in the face and pushed me. He also used bad language and said: “That's for Maidan’ He had fled from the scene. I was on the floor with a pool of blood around me, and it took a long time to recover. Now I have a constant headaches and pain around my nose area.”
Valentyna Korobka did not contact the police because she suspected this assault happened due to her active support of the EuroMaidan protest action. She attended the Sunday People's gathering and informed the protestors about the incident. A policeman has also previously assaulted Korobka where she was seriously injured in 2012, in another protest action. (More information can be found on this link http://www.streetnet.org.za/show.php?id=372 ). The case has made no progress and the accused officer is still on duty.
Prior to the latest incident concerning the EuroMaidan protest, she was verbally threatened for her active position. "The government tries to intimate us one by one but I am not afraid. I don’t intend to give up, because I know that together we are the invincible force," Korobka said.
StreetNet International supports Valentyna, the leader of Free trade union of entrepreneurs of Ukraine (VPPU) who is also an affiliate and wishes her a quick recovery.
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StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.
Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.
The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies