DONETSK, Ukraine - One of about 30 protesters who had been on hunger strike in an eastern Ukrainian city over pension cuts died on Sunday night after police broke up their tent encampment, the protest leader said.
The group were survivors of Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear accident and had been staging their protest in the mining city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine since Nov. 14 after reductions in the state pensions they receive for their part in fighting the 1986 disaster.
With temperatures hovering around zero, local emergencies ministry workers had provided one large tent with heating for the core protesters to sleep in until the issue had been resolved.
But after a court ruled the protest illegal late last week, police stormed into the main tent on Sunday night and removed a power generator, a stove and cut off lighting, the protest leader Nikolai Goncharov told reporters.
In the ensuing disorder, 68-year-old Gennady Konoplyov was taken ill and died in an ambulance after the police operation, Goncharov said. It was not clear what he had died from and there was no immediate comment by police.