Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poroshenko gave a short speech then threatened a protester with arrest for shouting

Irritated Poroshenko Shouts at Sacked Airport Workers, Threatens Arrest

Poroshenko gave a short speech then threatened a protester with arrest for shouting.

Meeting with laid off workers at Kiev's Boryspil International Airport on Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gave a short speech explaining the layoffs, and then threatened a protester with arrest for shouting at him.

The president first made an emotion-filled attempt to explain to those gathered why government services were being reduced and government workers were being laid off, noting that he would not subsidize workers while there is a war on and expenses are being slashed across the board.

"At the moment we are cutting back public spending. Yanukovich cost the state 1.5 billion hryvnia per month. We have reduced spending on the presidential administration to 800 million hryvnia, by 40 percent, saving 700 million. Right now, with a war is going on, no one will be subsidized by the state budget," Poroshenko explained. "We will not support [you] on taxpayers' money, when the army does not have enough, I will not do so," the president noted.

Poroshenko's words invoked an emotional response from the crowd. When one protester shouted a question back at the president, who was preparing to leave, Poroshenko retorted: "Don't raise your voice at me, or else you'll quickly be taken out." It is not clear what exactly the Ukrainian president meant by the words "taken out", with some media commentators interpreting his phrase as a threat to arrest the protester.

The Hall of Official Delegations independent trade union organized a strike at the airport earlier Thursday, demanding an end to the illegal dismissal of staff and the raider seizure they claim is taking place.

Poroshenko said that the staff reductions are not illegal, and that the protesters could take the government to court if they felt compelled to do so. "Reductions are taking place in accordance with the law. Anyone who believes something illegal was done can turn to the court, and I personally guarantee that no one will get involved in the case, and that decision will be enforced," the president said.

The Boryspil airport, located 18.5 kilometers from Kiev, serves 62 percent of all international flights in Ukraine. In 2012 the airport served over 8.5 million passengers.
Poroshenko in Borisopol

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