Ukrainian neo-Nazi, far-right hooligans viciously attack Pride parade – while police ‘stand idly by’
A Pride celebration in Odessa, Ukraine was beset by far-right nationalists who pelted LGBT+ activists with eggs and used pepper spray against them.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Odessa Pride organisers said that peaceful Pride event on Sunday afternoon had only been underway for ten minutes were set upon by the neo-Nazi thugs, who were bearing the banners of a ‘Traditions and Order’ nationalist group.
Pride organisers say that despite assurances from police that they would ensure the event was protected, officers did not react fast enough to the attack – with LGBT+ activists abused and attacked with pepper spray before police eventually sought to break up the conflict, forming a barrier surrounding the small pro-LGBT+ group.
Police ‘should be punished’ for failing to stop violence sooner, say Odessa Pride organisers.
The Pride organisers note that the event has gone off without violence for six years in a row, adding: “Those who attacked demonstrators should be punished for physical and psychological violence against citizens of Ukraine. Odessa police should be punished for standing idle during a crime.”
The Primorsky Police Department in Odessa confirmed in a statement on its website that 16 people have been arrested in connection with the violence on Sunday afternoon, after “spraying gas and throwing eggs” at the Pride participants.
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Two officers were hospitalised with injuries after the clash, the police department adds. It is unclear how many Pride participants were injured, though police said one 24-year-old was left needing medical for “chemical burns of the eyes, face and neck of the first degree” after she was sprayed with an unknown substance.
Police said that 12 people were arrested for petty hooliganism and disobeying the instructions of a police officer, while three minors minors “were handed over to their parents”.
LGBT+ people have faced repeated far-right violence in Ukraine.
LGBT+ people have few legal rights in Ukraine. The country has passed some basic gender recognition laws and discrimination protections as it seeks to align with EU law, but there is no recognition for same-sex relationships, and gay couples are banned from getting married or adopting children.
Pride events in the country have faced violence before, with a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in Kyiv disrupted last November by nationalists who pelted participants with eggs.
In September 2019, a gang of violent, anti-gay thugs who attacked a Pride march in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv – with a brave photographer stepping in after two rainbow-clad teenagers were chased and brutally beaten.