MARCH ON INEQUALITY IN KYIV, PT 2: DETAILS OF THE POLICE ATTACK
Last Sunday, another extreme-left "equality march" was held in Kyiv. Despite a number of Ukrainian and international media had hurried to report that the event was held without provocations and brave law enforcers did excellent job on "timely localization of far-right provocateurs," the police actions - along with the very LGBT parade - in fact have caused a storm indignation in the society. Of course, we are talking about the blatant violation of the citizens rights to a peaceful assembly by the police, when they brutally dispersed an authorized counter-LGBT action of conservative-minded activists few hours before the "equality march" start. In this article, based on an analytical material by the C14 Ukraine's patriotic movement, we'll try to track chronology of events.
The fact is that five thousand law enforcers were involved to this year's equality march. Ie, about 5 policemen per one advocate of sex minorities. Despite the event organizers pointed the number up to six thousand, it gathered not more than three thousand attendees, including foreign visitors. This was also confirmed by police statistics and an air video-overview of the column, which was stretched and divided into segregated blocks for creation of a mass effect.
To be more accurate - more than 5 400 law enforcers were involved, and 2 500 of them are the National Guard servants.
For public order protection the Kyiv units were enhanced by companies of 100 men (ex-Berkut) from 12 oblasts of Ukraine: Kyiv oblast, Chernihiv, Dnipro, Poltava, Zaporizhzhya, Vinnytsya, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Kropivnitsky, Lviv, Odessa.
From the security forces of Kyiv, a little more than 300 people were collected:
- Special Tasks Police Regiment (ex-Berkut);
- a company of Tactical and Prompt Response (TOR) of the Department of the Patrol Police of Kyiv.
Management of the police actions at the gay-parade had been divided by two:
- whole the operation was guided by the Deputy of the Police Chief, Ukrainian Police Colonel Ruslan Kuzmenko;
- the force detachments actions were directed by Yuriy Zozulya, the Chief of Kyiv Patrol Police Department
In addition, Zozulya had two tow trucks on that day in his dysposal. Since the LGBT march had several variants of the route, the risk that somewhere parked cars could partially interfere with the course was considered. Thus, the impeding cars had to be evacuated by the dawn.
In general, the city's blockade area for the upcoming gay parade had been divided into sectors and so on, but there is no reason to stickler for details. Interestingly, that in the eve of the event the police launched a passport control in the blocked zone, which included residential areas. People were not allowed to go through some streets if they had no residence there.
In the video above the girls claim the police wasn't allowing them to get to their homes, on the basis of which we can assume that Yuriy Zozulya misinformed media and residents in his official confirmation that the city center hadn't been blocked and everyone could go through after a brief police search.
Part of activists, who opposed the gay parade, started to gather near the Hrushevsky monument since Saturday's evening for a counter action action, that had been agreed with the city authorities. Already from 22:00 to 00:00, it was possible to penetrate to the place only using gaps in the block posts all-over the paralyzed center of Kyiv.
In the morning, the protesters group numbered more then a hundred people - priests, veterans, activists and so on. They had karemats and sleeping bags, spend the night near the monument. The atmosphere was friendly, some people were singing songs, other were lively communicating. Most part of the group was on a crossroad, blocked by the police from car traffic.
At about 6:30 am (three and a half hours before the gay parade) the police began to encircle the activists. It is important that the 'police of dialogue' approached to the group practically at the same time as the enforcers formed a living cordon around. Probably, the police of dialogue was not aware of the plan of action. There were no warnings and talks from the police. Almost immediately an attack begun. There was even a fun moment when one of the activists, Yuriy Noyeij, was attacked by a former "Berkut" just at the time of communicating with the police of dialogue. In fact, while one part of the police started a conversation as kin the activists about their plans and goals, another group started an attack.
the video of the police attack
This is confirmed by Kuzmenko's order to Zozulya for an attack on the demonstrators. Let's leave the exact statements for the trial.
- had not violated anything;
- did not interfere with the conduct of the gay parade, since it was three hours before;
- did not block traffic on the street, the police itself had blocked the traffic of cars;
- they did not "interfere with the gay parade", because according to the main version it was expected that the gay parade will pass from the Universitet subway station down the boulevard, that is, near the protest rally.
At least, the gey parade opponents parade could be separated from the LGBT by a police border. Similarly, in 2017, there was a peaceful protest action against a gay parade. There were no clash. Everything went peacefully. Both sides had stated their own position.
What changed this year? Kuzmenko and Zozulya decided to actually disperse a peaceful rally. The excuses made by Zozulya that he just freed the road so as not to interfere with the gay parade, actually means that the police decided to beat and disperse one party of demonstrators in the benefit of the other.
At the time of the attack, there were 950 police officers involved in this sector:
Regional security forces (ex-Berkut) from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Zaporizhzhya, Vinnitsa, Kharkiv Oblasts.
And 300 locals - security forces and the TOR.
During the attack, almost all enforcers - who are in fact hiding from the frontline on gay parades - were:
- hiding their faces behind balaklavas or masks;
- using helmets with covered personal numbers to complicate their own identification.
And these were quite reasonable decisions for those, who get used to permissiveness and impunity. Fir example one Yuriy Valko, a former servant of Kyiv's Berkut, who remained in service. This year he once again was marked by violent acts and beatings of civic activists. In 2015, Valko was involved in an incident in the LGBT parade, when a kilometer from the event he detained and beat a passerby, who according to him "was look like a right-radical."
According to official information all the participants of this year's LGBT parade security were promised a bonus of 500-1000 UAH. Principles of the formation of the bonus are not yet known. The only one who does not know who pays these funds (this is several million hryvnias!) - whether officially the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or informal sources such as LGBT foundations. This will be known soon.
There were three police attacks:
- the first and most known of them was filmed on a quadrocopter; it happened directly at the crossroads near the monument to Hrushevsky (video is above).
- the second attack against the activists who remained at the area but moved to the Boulevard of Shevchenko.
- the third and final attack took place near the Opera Theater (video).
The third attack is the smallest scale, but the most interesting since it disclosures the abuse of power by Yuri Zozulya. At that time, those several dozen activists who stood there were by no means even in theory able to hinder the route to the gay parade; most of them had already been lightly to moderately injured. At that time the activists in fact hadn't been protesting at all, but were trying to decide to which district police department the detainees were delivered and how to rescue them. At that moment, Yuriy Zozulya directly ordered an additional attack, so the "tactical police" and the Berkut attacked and detained the rest.
In fact, according to the results of the three attacks, a so-called "sweep" was carried out - one party was completely removed from the territory by force. Without reason or explanation.
On next day, representatives of the Kyiv police in mocking manner said to the MP Oksana Korchinskaya that noone had suffered from the police actions since no claim was filed to the police. In principle, Yuri Zozulya, as I pointed out above, is prone to spread disinformation. Therefore, it is hopeful, that the number of victims and the exact amount of stolen personal things - passports, purses, phones, women's backpacks (((what for?))) and so on will be revealed in nearest future.
Let's just mention few of that stories. It seems to me that a bit of irony is here:
- a volunteer, a participant of the operation of liberation of Mariupol in 2014 - beaten in the so-called "police corridor," he got a brain concussion there.
- a Donbass war volunteer, participant of battles for the Donetsk airport, wounded in action - a mobile phone stolen.
- a 17-year-old model - beaten with using of tear-gas.
- a blogger and a photographer holos.fm - a camera stolen (cost over 20 thousand UAH) on which he filmed attack.
- a 17-year-old student got ahis leg broken.
Last week, rallies took place near the Police regional departments in several cities of Ukraine with demand the Kyiv Police Chief Zozulya to resign. The activists promise to continue the investigation and do all possible the guilty ones to be punished.