01/27/2014 01:03 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 08:59 EST

Tetyana Chornovil, Ukraine Journalist, Beaten Badly Amid Spiraling Protests

An image of a bloody, battered, virtually unrecognizable journalist is fanning the flames of ever-spiraling protest in Ukraine.

Tetyana Chornovil, an outspoken critic of the embattled regime, was reportedly hunted down in her car and brutally attacked late last week — just hours after posting pictures on her blog of a sprawling country manor allegedly owned by Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko.

The disturbing image of a brutalized Chornovil has made the rounds on social media, and galvanized calls for Zakharchenko to resign.

Ukrainian authorities, however, claim to have arrested five suspects involved in the attack — all with ties to the country's opposition, Al Jazeera reports.

That official message was met with widespread disbelief — and anger.

"Our police no longer protect their people, but fight them instead, hurt and oppress them," 47-year-old housewife Valentina Gorilova told Reuters.

The reporter's apparent beating comes in the wake of a series of well-publicized incidents that have emerged from Ukraine riots. Last week, Reuters reported on a protester being apparently forced by police to strip naked and stand in the snow.

Harrowing pictures of a Ukrainian student who claims he was tortured by police also emerged last week.

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