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Amnesty Says Attack On Gay Event In Kyiv Shows Police Inaction

Amnesty International has slammed what it called the "repeated inaction" by Ukrainian police over attacks on the country's LGBT community. (file photo)

Members of a far-right Ukrainian group disrupted an LGBT event in Kyiv on May 10 without Ukrainian police intervening to stop their actions, Amnesty International said in a May 11 statement.

The open public event was scheduled at a privately hired venue -- Underhub -- with representatives from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch due to address the gathering.

The event could not begin because of the arrival of some 20 far-right activists, who threatened the participants with violence unless they left.

They were joined by one of the owners of the venue who ordered the organizers to cancel the event and leave the premises.

Five police officers were present but refused to intervene, Amnesty said in a May 11 statement.

"Only after the arrival of a group of City Patrol Police more than an hour later were the participants able to safely leave the venue, without the meeting taking place or any arrests being made," Amnesty said.

The statement did not identify the far right group to which the perpetrators belonged.

"Given the police’s repeated inaction over such attacks, it is no surprise that members of Ukrainian far-right groups take full advantage of their impunity -- repeatedly attacking individuals and groups whose views or identity they dislike," said Denis Krivosheev, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional office.

Amnesty said that at least 30 such attacks orchestrated by members of far-right groups on women's rights defenders, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), and left-wing activists and Romany families have occurred in recent months in Ukraine.

The perpetrators act with almost complete impunity in most cases and are often bragging online about their deeds.

"In just one case, an attack on the Festival of Equality in the city of Zaporizhia in September 2017, the perpetrators were arrested and put on trial," the statement said.

“For the authorities in Ukraine to tolerate such incidents -- many of which have been violent and resulted in injuries -- and fail to prosecute the perpetrators shows a shameful disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

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