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Equality March 2017 in Kyiv: participants, protesters and police

Author : Olena Holubeva

19:31, 19 June 2017
Equality March 2017 in Kyiv: participants, protesters and police

Author : Olena Holubeva

The March of Equality was held under the guard of more than five thousand law enforcement officers in Ukrainian capital Kyiv. 112.ua went the way with a "rainbow column" from the Teacher's House surrounded by the police, to a special subway train that took away participants of the event, following without stopping.

19:31, 19 June 2017

Read original article at 112.ua

112 Agency


Late in the evening on the eve of the March of Equality, the head of the Right Sector press service, Artem Skoropadsky in Facebook reported that the nationalists had blocked Shevchenko Park, Volodymyrska Street and Teacher's House in order to prevent the March of Equality in Kyiv. But already in the early morning it was clear that if someone blocked the area of the march, then it’s Ukrainian law enforcers.

"The activists gathered in the evening, but in the morning we were pushed back from the Teachers' House. Our guys stayed near the University (the Red Hull)," said Skoropadsky to 112.ua. According to him, a broad nationalist coalition protested against holding the march: the Right Sector, Svoboda Party, non-party nationalists and men from the front took part.

112 Agency

At 7:30 we are going to the Teacher’s House at Volodymyrska Street near Shevchenko park. It is surrounded by a metal fence, near which dozens of policemen are on duty, there are buses of the National Guard. Law enforcers are also on duty in the adjoining exits to the yards. Further no one is allowed to pass the cordon, we were advised to look for a checkpoint on a parallel street. But there we saw a similar situation: the police, the National Guard, a metal fence. Police advised us to look for a checkpoint in front of the park. Officers standing in the park only shrug their shoulders: they set us up here, we do not know anything.

At last! Here it is - on the boulevard of Taras Shevchenko is a metal fence, but with metal detector frames. Then, after examination of personal belongings, you can finally get into the perimeter blocked by the security forces. A few meters from the frame, the police kept the guy. Apparently he seemed suspicious. The things seized from him are laid out on the hood of a police car. Later, the police reported that just in a few young people belongings during the inspection, they found balaclavas and gas cartridges.

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Later we found out that participants could also passed through the metal frames at Volodymyrska, a hundred meters from the Teachers' House and from Khreshchatyk Street. However, no one obviously had the scheme of places, where people could pass through the police cordon. Not only the idlers, but apparently many of those who wanted to join the protest or join the protesters against it, simply could not get through.

Songs and hairspray

Inside the cordon, it seemed that the overwhelming majority consisted only of the law enforcers (besides ordinary policemen and national guards there were police officers with dogs and mounted police) and journalists. Some quick colleagues even tried to ask about the difficult LGBT life of other colleagues, but making sure that they were not participants of the march, journalists became embarrassed and stepped back.

Around the Teacher’s House, several banners were hanged, including an appeal to ban homosexual propaganda. Several young people with a pictures in support of a heterosexual family distributed brochures of the Love Against Homosexuality organization named Mom Dad is good – Dad Dad is bad. In the Shevchenko park this organization installed a platform with speakers, which sounded the voice of a professional announcer who argued against same-sex couples and holding the Equality March: "They say that they defend human rights, but this is not true, they lie. First they give you a myth of "discrimination based on sexual orientation," then there is legalization of same-sex marriages, permission to adopt children by same-sex couples and finally the establishment of homodictatorship: amendments to the law, and aggravating of administrative and criminal responsibility for all who do not agree with this. "

The speech of the announcer periodically was replaced by musical pauses - songs about father and mother, family and motherland.

The group of Equality March supporters until 9:00 was represented only by few teenagers in bright-green vests. They seemed to be volunteers of security. Newly arriving volunteers were given a small whistle, along with a warning, not to hang them around their necks. "I once hung it on a football match," sighed the girl-organizer with an electronic cigarette in her hand. She also advised volunteers to "take pictures of those who come close and photograph you."

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Also, the volunteers were armed with hair spray (probably to splash in the faces of the offenders - Ed.) and walkie-talkies, which, as warned, may not work properly.

After 9:00, the direct participants of the March of Equality began to actively arrive. As the organizers advised them on the eve, they came in casual clothes and then changed it: sweatshirts with rainbow colors, wigs, suits, and fancy veils were removed from the packages. The volunteers handed out the rainbow flags to the arrivals. Some held hand-made posters, including with an appeal to legalize same-sex marriages.

A separate large group consisted of people in yellow waistcoats with the inscription of the human rights organization Amnesty International. They held posters in support of human rights. In front of them were three grown-up ladies with a banner: "The rights of mine child – is the best for the country."

112 Agency

112 Agency

Quadrocopters were buzzing over the crowd.

And as it soon became clear, their owners were the only ones who could enjoy the full picture of the column and read the proclamations on the posters.

Law enforcers began to surround the column. The cordon of police and national guard in several rows stood at the sides of the column, also the police in helmets stood the head of the column, completely covering it, even from the eyes of operators and journalists.

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Even before the start of the procession it became clear that protesters (there were no more than two or three hundred people) and the march participants were at the distance about five hundred meters. When the column moved, the chains of law enforcers began to cut this space, from the Shevchenko park in the direction of the protesters moved the mounted police. At that moment, the column changed the route and turned onto Shevchenko Boulevard. Participants of the Equality March began to descend to the L’va Tolstogo subway station (this station and the next – Palats Sportu - were closed by this time) along Shevchenko Boulevard. The protesters did not have a single chance to approach even at such a distance to view the faces of the participants.

112 Agency


Between the protesters against the march and the police took pace minor skirmishes. The firecracker exploded. As it is known, there were seven detainees and all of them have already been released.

March of Equality passed in a tight ring of security officials, along a deserted street (traffic of road and public transport was blocked the day before). Despite the fact that the territory was already surrounded by the police, an additional barrier was created from the side of the Shevchenko park by representatives of bicycle patrols accompanying the convoy. All the gateways along the column were blocked by security forces. The only young man and pensioner tried to protest against the movement of the column, who fled with journalists before the heads of the column with the police.

Subway

As before, surrounded on all sides by the law enforcers, the march participants entered the subway station and were seated in train wagons specially for them. The transition to the Palats Sportu station was also blocked by security forces.

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The train driver announced that the train goes without stops. The train that was going in the direction of the Heroiv Dnipra station, made the first stop at Petrivka. Immediately participants received a notification from the March KyivPride-2017 group with a request to write back about security.

"Because of us, the participants of the march changed the route, they had to go along the university and then turn to L’va Tolstogo station, and eventually they went on a completely different route. They (the participants of the Equality March) put themselves into a voluntary ghetto. The march was held in the conditions of almost an antiterrorist operation in the city, nearly 6.5 thousand policemen guarded it, this is more than a brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine. The police usually do such things when such large-scale events as Eurovision are held. Two underground stations have been closed, the schedule of subway traffic has been changed! This shows that without the protection of the state, for which because of the visa-free regime it is now profitable to prove to be cool Europeans, they (representatives of the LGBT community) are so hated by the majority of the Ukrainian people that they would not go anywhere. They understand that in Ukraine people hate them, without these police brigades, without mounted police, people would simply have torn them up, "said Artem Skoropadsky.

Skoropadsky also assured that the nationalists would not catch the participants of the march: "This is not our methods to run and catch them. Our method was to show how alien they are to Ukrainian society – and we showed it. And to beat some unfortunate homosexual is not our method at all. We just wanted to show how this phenomenon is unnatural in Ukraine. And we showed it."

Later at the Kontraktova Square police detained one of the attackers on the March of Equality participants. The participants were attacked three hours after the march. It was preliminary established that a group of unknown men ran up to the March participants, splashed one in the face with a gas spray, and injured another.

One of the attackers was detained by the police and taken to the Podolsky police department. Operatives and investigators interrogated him. The detainee is a resident of Kyiv, born in 1995. Officers seized by a knife and a gas can from.

Two injured men, born in 1980 and 1984 years, called an ambulance, doctors provided them with medical assistance and taken to the hospital.

Reinforced police detachments worked in public places until the evening.

The police also reported that the events took place without gross violations (minor injuries were received by two policemen). About 5 thousand law enforcement officers were involved in providing protection to March participants. Among them - employees of all units of the Kyiv police and police units of the adjacent regions - Chernihiv and Cherkassy, as well as employees of the State Emergency Service, and fighters of the National Guard.

Related: Alexander Hug to visit Donbas next week

Related: 10 people suffered during March of Equality in Kyiv, 7 attacks reported

Related: Poroshenko goes on working visit to America

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