Anti-gay violence reached new levels of intensity in Ukraine on Sunday, May 20, as Kiev police told the organizers of a gay pride march that they would be unable to protect marchers against hundreds of ultra-right-wing anti-gay hooligans who were arriving to block the march.
Svyatoslav Sheremet, leader of the gay-rights group Gay Forum of Ukraine was beaten and kicked by thugs minutes after he announced that the march had been canceled.
Reuters news service distributed a photo of the attack. (See above.)
Sheremet said seven to 10 men attacked him.
“I could not defend myself as the attackers had pepper spray and I had to protect my eyes. I fell to the ground and was kicked. When I got up, they ran away,” he said.
He said he could not identify his attackers, RT.com reported.
“They looked like typical street gang members,” he said.
Sheremet suffered minor injuries, as did some others in the city who were also attacked.
Police escorted most of the would-be marchers to safety.
Amnesty International called on Ukrainian authorities “to protect the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and ensure they are able to exercise their human rights without fear of attacks.”
A senior Kiev police official had previously told pride organisers that he was not prepared to put his officers in harm’s way for the LGBT community, the group said.
Amnesty International Ukraine campaigner Max Tucker said:
“It has been clear from the start that the Kiev police department did not want this march to go ahead.
“Their reluctance to commit to the event and to put adequate security measures in place to protect demonstrators left organisers fearing for their safety.
“The Kiev authorities and police must work harder to ensure next year pride participants can feel confident they will be protected.”
Amnesty also said it opposes a bill in the Ukrainian parliament that would restrict distribution of and access to information “promoting homosexuality,” Amnesty said:
The provisions, if adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament, would directly discriminate against lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in the exercise of their right to freedom of expression. Passing this bill would fly in the face of Ukraine’s international obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression and prohibit discrimination.
Amnesty is calling on the Ukrainian parliament to reject the bill and to ensure that Ukraine protects, respects and fulfils the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals without any discrimination.
- Efforts to ban ‘gay propaganda’ spread in Europe (76crimes.com)
- Ukraine might ban talking about homosexuality (76crimes.com)