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Bet Pussy Riot Won’t Be Protesting Against This!

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Pink Tri­an­gle Badge worn by gay vic­tims of the Nazis.

Pravy Sek­tor Activist

COMMENT: Dmytro Yarosh, who in addi­tion to being a mem­ber of par­lia­ment is also now a high-lev­el mil­i­tary advis­er, recent­ly shared some thoughts on Face­book regard­ing the annu­al Kiev gay pride march:He has promised in a Face­book post that the group’s mem­bers will “put aside oth­er busi­ness in order to pre­vent those who hate fam­ily, moral­ity, and human nature, from exe­cut­ing their plans. We have oth­er things to do, but we’ll have to deal with this evil too,” he wrote.

Pravy Sek­tor fol­lowed through on the threat with mul­ti­ple bands of mil­i­tants ready to ambush flee­ing pro­tes­tors after they fled the vio­lent attack on the march. The vio­lent attack that includ­ed fire­works and a nail bomb that almost killed one of the police offi­cers.

We doubt that the Russ­ian punk rock band Pussy Riot will be protest­ing about this, as they did the anti-gay stance of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment (of which we do not approve, BTW).

It is impos­si­ble with­in the scope of this post to cov­er our volu­mi­nous cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis. Pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the sub­ject are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804, 808811817818824826829832833, 837.

“Right Sec­tor Threat­ens Kyiv Gay Pride March” by Johannes Wamberg Ander­sen; Kiev [Kyiv] Post; 6/6/2015.

 Anti-gay groups in Ukraine, includ­ing the mil­i­tant Right Sec­tor, are threat­en­ing to stop a gay pride march planned for June 6.

Refer­ring to the Old Tes­ta­ment in the Holy Bible, the Right Sec­tor — which fields a bat­tal­ion of sol­diers to fight against Rus­sia in east­ern Ukraine — called gay peo­ple “per­verts” who “need to be cured” and promised to “pre­vent this sodomist gath­er­ing.”

>“There will be thou­sands of us,” Right Sec­tor spokesman Artem Sko­ropad­skyi told the Kyiv Post.

The parade named Equal­ity March will take place on June 6 in Kyiv.

The orga­niz­ers keep time and place secret until the last moment for safe­ty rea­sons.

On the morn­ing of the day of the event, the details of the place and time will be sent out to the par­tic­i­pants who reg­is­tered online.

The annu­al gay prides are often haunt­ed by ultra-con­ser­v­a­tives.

In 2012, unknown men attacked and beat up gay rights activist Svy­atoslav Sheremet on the day of a planned gay pride that was can­celled because of secu­rity rea­sons.

Right Sec­tor leader Dmytro Yarosh has promised in a Face­book post that the group’s mem­bers will “put aside oth­er busi­ness in order to pre­vent those who hate fam­ily, moral­ity, and human nature, from exe­cut­ing their plans. We have oth­er things to do, but we’ll have to deal with this evil too,” he wrote.

Yarosh then upped the stakes by con­nect­ing the parade to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

He said that the event would “spit on the graves of those who died and defend­ed Ukraine.”

Echo­ing Russ­ian rhetoric on the sub­ject, Sko­ropad­skyi said that “gay pro­pa­ganda is destruc­tive and doing harm to our Chris­t­ian nation, we can’t allow that.”

Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko gave his sup­port to the Equal­ity Rights march dur­ing a June 5 press con­fer­ence.

He said cit­i­zens have a con­sti­tu­tional right to assem­bly and that law enforce­ment agen­cies would guar­an­tee the safe­ty.

Kyiv May­or rVi­tali Klitschko didn’t share the president’s con­fi­dence.

He asked the Kyiv les­bian-bisex­u­al-gay-trans­gen­der com­mu­nity to can­cel the pride march to avoid “inflam­ma­tion of hatred” and “not to pro­voke anoth­er con­fronta­tion in Kyiv.”

Activists said they would go for­ward with the march any­way.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ger­many, France and the Euro­pean Union in Kyiv had engaged in a diplo­matic effort to ensure that police would pro­tect the man­i­fes­ta­tion, law­maker Ser­hiy Leshchenko said.

The Right Sec­tor gained broad pop­u­lar­ity in Ukraine play­ing an active role in the Euro­Maidan Rev­o­lu­tion. . . .

“Anti-Gay Extrem­ists Vio­lently Break Up Gay Pride March in Kyiv; Sev­eral Injured, Many Arrests” by Ste­fan Hui­j­boom; Kiev [Kyiv] Post; 6/6/2015.

Pro­tected by hun­dreds of police offi­cers in Kyiv’s Obolon dis­trict, near­ly 200 per­sons tried on June 6 to take part in the sec­ond gay pride parade in the last three years.

But vio­lence, almost from the start, marred the event and sent peo­ple flee­ing in chaos and pan­ic. Police broke up the gath­er­ing quick­ly, telling par­tic­i­pants to leave because they could not guar­an­tee their safe­ty after dozens of extrem­ists attacked the crowd and police with fire­works, fists and nails.

Sev­eral police offi­cers and par­tic­i­pants were injured, includ­ing one offi­cer who suf­fered seri­ous wounds after being attacked with fire­works and nail bombs.

More than 20 extrem­ists were arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of vio­lence. Oth­ers escaped, includ­ing one man who shout­ed “they should die!” in ref­er­ence to homo­sex­u­als.

Many attack­ers iden­ti­fied them­selves as part of the mil­i­tant Pravy (Right) Sec­tor. Its leader, mem­ber of par­lia­ment Dmytro Yarosh, also fields a semi-autonomous bat­tal­ion in the Ukrain­ian army. Yarosh, in a long Face­book post on June 5, con­demned equal rights for gays and pledged to stop the gath­er­ing.

At least two oth­er mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk and Ser­hiy Leshchenko, attend­ed the march along with the Swedish ambas­sador to Ukraine, Andreas von Beck­erath, and oth­er West­ern diplo­mats.

Zal­ishchuk said that some of the extrem­ists charged the crowd of march­ing activists, but were blocked by cor­dons of police that eas­ily num­bered sev­eral hun­dred offi­cers to pro­vide secu­rity. She praised the fast police response and wit­nessed some of the vio­lence.

“One of police­men was almost killed,” Zal­ishchuk said. “He was wound­ed very severe­ly in the neck.”

Zal­ishchuk said that the march and the accom­pa­ny­ing vio­lence show that Ukraine still has work to do in accept­ing gay rights.

While Ukraine has “made great progress in the path of tol­er­ance, which is the core of our Euro­pean path,” it’s clear to her that only a minor­ity of Ukraini­ans sup­port equal rights for homo­sex­u­als. “It’s def­i­nitely a minor­ity, not a major­ity,” she said, based on pub­lic com­ments in social net­works and in con­ver­sa­tions.

She said that she has no plans to ask col­leagues in Par­lia­ment to hold pub­lic hear­ings that would inves­ti­gate, sep­a­rately from the police crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion, whether Right Sec­tor insti­gated the vio­lence.

“I don’t know whether they were all part of Praviy Sector,”Zalishchuk said. “They wrote that they were against it…I don’t know if the insti­ga­tors them­selves were from Pravy Sec­tor.”

She said that the “con­se­quences should be just” against those who com­mit­ted vio­lence and that, if Yarosh was behind the attacks, “this is unac­cept­able.”

The march got off to a peace­ful start, but for secu­rity rea­sons, the loca­tion remained a secret until two hours before its sched­uled 11 a.m. start.

“Ukraine is Europe! We are Europe!We share Euro­pean val­ues!” activists chant­ed as they marched along the Dnipro Riv­er in Kyiv’s Obolon Dis­trict

Jour­nal­ists had to gath­er in Kyiv’s Pech­ersk dis­trict, where they were picked up by a bus and trans­ported to the march.

The extrem­ists, how­ever, were tipped off to the loca­tion. They were wait­ing near the scene and threat­ened vio­lence from the start.

“It’s a shame to be gay. It’s not nor­mal. They are per­verse!” shout­ed two men in front of the near­by Kyiv Golf Club com­plex. Police blocked these men. But one attack­er injured a police offi­cer with a pow­er­ful fire­cracker. The wound left a pud­dle of blood on the ground.

“They should all die!” said a young man, his face cov­ered in a bal­a­clava. He didn’t want to explain why “all gays should die,” but con­stantly repeat­ed that “it’s dis­gust­ing.”

Leshchenko, a mem­ber of par­lia­ment with the Bloc of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, wrote on Face­book that “the fate of Ukraine’s Euro­pean inte­gra­tion will be deter­mined this week­end dur­ing Kyiv’s gay pride parade.”

He also vowed to intro­duce leg­is­la­tion that would ban dis­crim­i­na­tion based on someone’s sex­u­al­ity, a pre­req­ui­site for Euro­pean Union inte­gra­tion.

“We are here not for a par­ty. We’re here to show to the out­side world that we’re human and don’t want to bescared of who we are,” said 20-year-old Max­im, a hair styl­ist, who attend­ed the march with three of his friends. He was too afraid to give his full name as he claimed some provo­ca­teurs might hunt him down.

“It’s hard to be open­ly gay. My par­ents have known it for a few months, and with my father, I no longer have any con­tact. There is so much vio­lence tar­geted at open­ly gays,” he explained the Kyiv Post. Quick­ly he point­ed to the mas­sive police force. “Is this nor­mal? No, of course not! I hope there will be one day that Ukraine accepts Europe’smoral stan­dards when it comes to LGBT (les­bian-gay-bisex­u­al-trans­gen­der) rights.”

The event was sup­posed to start at 11 a.m., but police demand­ed that par­tic­i­pants leave as soon as pos­si­ble under police escort because they couldn’t guar­an­tee the activists’ safe­ty if they stayed.

But even as the activists fled, anti-gay pro­test­ers gath­ered and clashed with police, some tack­ling police offi­cers to the ground and beat­ing them. Pan­ic and chaos broke out, with peo­ple run­ning through Obolon’s res­i­den­tial areas to find a safe way out.

“Don’t go to the metro sta­tions!” yelled some police offi­cers.

Anti-gay mil­i­tants were wait­ing at Kyiv’s Min­sk metro sta­tion, the clos­est sta­tion to the march, to con­front gay activists.

A mini­van of Pravy Sektor’s vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion Ukraine’s Vol­un­teer Corps was spot­ted on the Hero­iv Stal­in­grad Street, one of the main roads in the Obolon dis­trict lead­ing to the Min­sk metro sta­tion.

Peo­ple ran across the streets to flee as police repelled the attacks with pep­per spray that struck the eyes of two attack­ers, who fell to the ground. Para­medics quick­ly arrived. One of the injured men remained defi­ant.

“I’m a mil­i­tary offi­cer in the east. It’s a shame that our coun­try is allow­ing these per­verts to walk the streets. It’s not okay!” he yelled. He was tak­en away by medics, while police arrest­ed the oth­er one.

...
Denis Panin, a board mem­ber of Ful­crum, one of the orga­ni­za­tions involved in the Kyiv Pride event, is hope­ful for the future, despite the vio­lence.

A gay pride parade in May 2012 was also called off because of vio­lent threats while anoth­er march in Decem­ber 2012 was also marred by attacks.

“Let’s hope that every year the pride gets bet­ter and safer, and let’s talk more open­ly about it. Ukraine is a clos­eted coun­try, and it has to come out of that clos­et,” Panin said.

Discussion

2 comments for “Bet Pussy Riot Won’t Be Protesting Against This!”

  1. Mr. Emory,
    I want to make sure I’m fol­low­ing you cor­rect­ly and not read­ing any­thing extra­ne­ous into your writ­ing.

    By say­ing that Pussy Riot won’t be protest­ing Ukrain­ian vio­lence against gay rights activists, are you stat­ing that they are strict­ly an anti-Putin/Russ­ian orga­ni­za­tion? This is what I’ve long thought, espe­cial­ly since in their HBO doc­u­men­tary almost all of their protest signs were in Eng­lish. If I remem­ber cor­rect­ly, their leader was asked why this was, and a real answer was nev­er pro­vid­ed.

    I’ve sus­pect­ed PR was created/used by anti-Putin West­ern inter­ests specif­i­cal­ly to swing West­ern pub­lic opin­ion against Putin and/or Rus­sia. While I can appre­ci­ate their fem­i­nist, pro-rights posi­tion, it still seems like a man­u­fac­tured front that is not so inter­est­ed in pro­vok­ing inter­nal Russ­ian action, but instead to increase exter­nal pres­sure on the Putin regime.

    Posted by Sampson | June 8, 2015, 5:13 am
  2. @SAMPSON–

    I strong­ly sus­pect that Pussy Riot is being manip­u­lat­ed, being, in effect, what is known in intel par­lance as “an asset.”

    It is a mat­ter of spec­u­la­tion as to exact­ly what their ori­gin is, or what their moti­va­tions are, beyond increased vis­i­bil­i­ty, resul­tant pro­fes­sion­al grav­i­tas and deriv­a­tive finan­cial gain.

    The more “out­re” ele­ments of the rock scene (punk, black metal,speed met­al etc.) are more vis­cer­al in ori­en­ta­tion, rather than cere­bral, in my opin­ion.

    The sheer media play that the band is receiv­ing strong­ly sug­gests that they are being manip­u­lat­ed and/or used.

    One of the band mem­bers had an op ed col­umn in “The New York Times.”

    Punk rock­ers do NOT get op ed columns in The Grey Lady with­out some­one giv­ing sig­nif­i­cant, appo­site assis­tance.

    In addi­tion, you just will not hear ANYTHING using the word “pussy” pro­mot­ed on NPR and oth­er elec­tron­ic media under nor­mal cir­cum­stances. Not that some “guv­ment men” are nec­es­sar­i­ly stand­ing in the back­ground as enforcers.

    Rather, there is insti­tu­tion­al grav­i­tas behind their expo­sure.

    Who the hell knows what goes on between the band mem­bers’ ears? I’d be sur­prised if they protest­ed the Pravy Sek­tor attack.

    No “push from behind” in this regard, I’ll wager.

    Although there has been lim­it­ed cov­er­age of the Kiev attack in the U.S. media, there has been no men­tion that I’ve seen of the inclu­sion of Pravy Sek­tor into par­lia­ment and the mil­i­tary in Ukraine.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 8, 2015, 5:38 pm

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