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Uman: Rightwing activists detained over rally against Hassidic Pilgrims

26.09.2011    source:


Police detained at least 50 activists of the rightwing party VO Svoboda on Sunday after they defied a court order banning a rally against Hassidic pilgrims in Uman.  The police apparently removed gas canisters, smoke bombs and catapults. One of the protesters was hospitalized.  According to another protester, he is an 18-year-old student who arrived in Uman from the Mykolaiv region.  Other protesters said that sticks and special measures had virtually not been used against them.  They said that they had come to Uman from various regions, including the Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsa and Mykolaiv oblasts.

The application to ban the planned protest was made by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.  VO Svoboda had previously stated that they would ignore it.  As reported, the Cherkasy Branch of a party known for its xenophobic and anti-Semitic views had  come out publicly with criticism of the police who were, it asserted, failing “to stop and avert aggression by Hassidic Jews to Ukrainians” and not trying “to prevent or stop mass disorder which the Hassidic Jews bring each year to their religious festival”.

Hassidic pilgrims come from all over the world each year to Uman where Reb Nachman Breslover (4 April 1772 – 16 October 1810, the founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement is buried. The pilgrimage coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year at the end of September.

There were a number of serious scandals last year and 10 Hassidic pilgrims were deported back to Israel and banned entry to Ukraine for 5 years.  

The Cherkasy Regional Administration expect around 30 thousand pilgrims this year around Rosh Hashanah. 

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