Kyiv March For Transgender Rights Cancelled After Violence By Far-Right Radicals
A transgender rights activist stands in a park for a rally on November 18. Organizers were forced to abandon the event after far-right counterdemonstrators assaulted several protesters and attacked a Canadian journalist.
Activists for transgender rights were forced to disband a demonstration in Kyiv on November 18 after counterdemonstrators assaulted several protesters and attacked a Canadian journalist trying to cover the event.
The legally sanctioned LGBT-rights demonstration was meant to be a march through the streets of the Ukrainian capital coinciding with International Transgender Remembrance Day on November 18.
But RFE/RL’s correspondent in Kyiv, Christopher Miller, reports that about 40 LGBT rights activists who arrived at the gathering point in Shevchenko Park were forced to relocate to a nearby location after about 100 "religious radicals and far-right groups" arrived in the park for a counterdemonstration.
Miller says the counterdemonstrators included members of the far-right groups Tradition and Order, Right Sector, and the Religious National Front.
Miller says LGBT rights activists who moved their gathering place by two blocks to a location near Kyiv’s University metro station were followed by a small group of counterdemonstrators who confronted them by shouting slurs and setting off smoke bombs.
Ukrainian police move on transgender rights activists after their rally in a Kyiv park was disrupted by far-right radicals on November 18.
Miller says Ukrainian police did not make any effort to remove the counterdemonstrators and, instead, shoved the LGBT rights activists through turnstiles of the metro station while swearing at them and shouting "hateful slurs."
Two female activists who remained on the street were physically assaulted by the counterdemonstrators, Miller said.
Canadian journalist Michael Colborne was punched in the face by a counterdemonstrators at a Transgender rights rally in Kyiv on November 18. He suffered a swollen lip and cuts on his face from his broken glasses.
Canadian journalist Michael Colborne was also punched in the face by the counterdemonstrators near the metro station, suffering a swollen lip and cuts on his face from his broken glasses.
Colborne tweeted that the attack against him was “further proof” that Ukraine “has a hug far-right problem,” and that Ukrainian officials should “stop downplaying it.”
Based on reporting by RFE/RL correspondent Christopher Miller in Kyiv