Ukraine police and protesters disrupt trans rights march

Anti-LGBT protesters disrupted a demonstration in favor of trans rights on Nov. 18 in Ukraine with little opposition and some help from police.

Trans rights demonstration in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 18. (Photo courtesy of Insight)
Trans rights demonstration in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 18. (Photo courtesy of Insight)

Olena Shevchenko, chair of the LGBTI rights organization Insight in Ukraine, reports:

On Nov 18, a march was planned to be held in Kyiv city center dedicated to International Trans Remembrance Day. The march was disrupted, but a short rally was held, which lasted twenty minutes.

One day before march, we had to change the location for security reasons, despite the fact that all our actions were agreed with the police and local authorities. Instead, on the day of march, 15 minutes before the start of the march, the police actually moved the place of gathering for the second time.

Near our announced venue at National University, there were contra-actions of right-wing radicals and religious groups, some of which began to move to the place police forcibly moved us. Several times, representatives of right-wing radicals threw smoke bombs near the participants of the trans march.

Right-wing protesters used smoke bombs to try to disrupt a trans rights demonstration in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 18. (Photo courtesy of Insight)
Right-wing protesters used smoke bombs to try to disrupt a trans rights demonstration in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 18. (Photo courtesy of Insight)

We managed to put up trans flags and rainbow flags and posters, as well as banners with our slogans and demands. Inna Iriskina, coordinator of the transgender program of the NGO “Insight,” delivered a speech about our demands to the state. Some right-wing radicals pushed into the crowd and tried to shout down the speech, chanting “Shame.”

Police again didn’t react.

Suddenly the police began to literally push all the participants to the entrance to the subway. The police routinely ordered this “collapse” and also tried to remove the drums from participants, since “this is not a circus.” In in the lobby of the University all participants began to chant “Human rights above all else.” In response was heard “Shame”.

We are aware of the several attacks of right-wing radicals on the rally participants afterwards. Two girls were gassed in their face. Also, the Canadian journalist Michael Colborne, who was present at the rally, was hit in the face during the fights.

Today’s events have demonstrated that the level of right-wing radical aggression and violence is increasing in Ukraine. Police under the pressure of radical groups have declared that they cannot provide security. Thus, the police as a whole cannot ensure human rights and freedoms. We see this situation as a right-wing radical dictatorship that is being established in Ukraine.

See the demonstration and disruption in a video from Insight (not in English): https://www.facebook.com/insight.ngo/videos/454631098397376/

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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