Thursday, June 9, 2016
Ukrainian Nationalists Promise 'Bloody Mess' As Kiev's LGBTs Prepare To March.
A video experiment in which a gay couple strolled around Kiev hand-in-hand.
Ukrainian Nationalists Promise 'Bloody Mess' As Kiev's LGBTs Prepare To March. (Rferl).
The battle lines are being drawn in the Ukrainian capital.
Activists supporting the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are determined to hold a March of Equality on June 12. Many of Ukraine's nationalists and cultural conservatives seem equally determined to stop them -- even if that means violence and bloodshed.
Artem Skoropadskiy, a spokesman for the far-right Right Sector movement, predicted on Facebook on May 29 that "on June 12 in Kyiv there will be a bloody mess."
Mykola Kokhanivskyy, chairman of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), told RFE/RL that his organization feels justified in using violence to prevent "perverts" from marching.
"The majority is categorically opposed to letting these perverts publicly demonstrate their perversion," Kokhanivskyy said. "Since the majority opposes this, they shouldn't do it. We can go through the courts or use other means to ban it. But if this doesn't happen, then upset citizens have the right to use force against this illegal manifestation of perversion."
These are not idle threats.
Moreover, discrimination and violence are a daily reality for LGBT people in Ukraine.
"I have a lot of friends and acquaintances in the LGBT community, and I see how they are discriminated against on a daily basis," says Ian Gubskiy, who is gay and transgender.
"Some people can't even appear on the streets because they might be beaten at any moment. Literally yesterday, they tried to attack a friend of mine and we had to defend him."
This year, the story is shaping up similarly. About 600 people have registered to participate in the event, while some 13,000 people have endorsed a petition calling on the city government to ban the march.
Organizers said 20 members of the parliament and an array of Western diplomats have pledged to join the march.
Police have promised to deploy 6,500 officers to prevent clashes. Read the full story here.