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Crime

Ukrainian Pride head viciously attacked by huge gang

Josh Jackman July 3, 2018

Boris Zolotchenko (gay alliance ukraine)

The organiser of a Ukrainian Pride event has been beaten up by more than 10 people in a brutal attack that left him in hospital.

Boris Zolotchenko, the head of Kryvbas Pride 2018, was left hurt and scared by the ambush, which took place just weeks ahead of the three-day festival.

He called the police, only to be told that no officer would be coming to help.

Policemen detain an anti-LGBT activist at Kyiv Pride (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty)
Policemen detain an anti-LGBT activist at Kyiv Pride (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty)

Ukraine has seen a surge of anti-LGBT sentiment in 2018, with 23,000 people signing a petition asking for a “gay propaganda” law which called same-sex adoption “an act of violence against these children.”

The law was stopped from coming to fruition by the country’s anti-discrimination Ombudsman, but LGBT people have still suffered attacks, with one LGBT activist in Uzhgorod reportedly receiving an eye burn in one such incident in March.

Zolotchenko was cornered outside Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, on the way back from a meeting with the rest of his Pride committee to organise the festival, which includes the March of Equality.

Far-right activists burn the rainbow flag during Kyiv Pride 2017 (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty)
Far-right activists burn the rainbow flag during Kyiv Pride (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty)

But despite the attack – the second he has suffered this year, and one which left him bleeding – the organiser said he wanted to stand by the Pride event’s slogan of “I refuse to be afraid!”

He told Gay Ukraine Alliance: “I’m more and more convinced that the March of Equality needs to be carried out.

“We must show powerful people and society that security and equality must be accessible to all citizens of Ukraine,” he added.

Participants march behind a banner as they take part in Kyiv Pride (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty)

“No man in Kryvy Rih, nor in any other city, deserves to be attacked, and this has had no consequences for the perpetrators. The state must address criminal youth groups and finally start to pay attention to each case of violent actions.”

Zolotchenko confessed: “Of course, I am scared now. But at the same time, I feel that I’m terribly tired of being afraid.”

Local activist Anna Leonova said that the attack, which took place on Sunday evening, was “just the tip of the iceberg.

“Annually, dozens and hundreds of similar attacks on LGBT people remain out of the attention of society and law enforcement.

Member of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms takes part in the Pride march in central Kyiv last month (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty)
Member of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms takes part in the Pride march in central Kyiv last month (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty)

“The reason for these attacks, as it is to me, is obvious: the absence of precedents for hate crimes and the inability of the police to respond to the actions of youth gang members,” she added.

“We urge the leadership of the National Police in the Dnipropetrovsk region to take this case for personal control and make efforts to establish the perpetrators of the crime.”

Lesbian couple Esenia and Anastasia have discovered the difficulties of living in Ukraine as openly LGBT people, having moved to Kyiv from a small Siberian town in Russia.

They told PinkNews that their 11-year-old daughter is not allowed to attend school because her mother is a lesbian.

But, Esenia and Anastasia said, they certainly do not want to return to Russia, which has seen hate crimes double since the introduction of a “gay propaganda” law in 2013.

More: Anti-gay, Boris Zolotchenko, Crime, Europe, Europe, Kryvbas Pride 2018, police, ukraine, Ukraine

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