At least 5 people were injured after the Zaporozhye Festival of Equality in Ukraine was attacked this weekend by anti-LGBTQ groups in masks. The group claimed they were stopping ’’the propaganda of perversion and sodomy.’’ RFSL is concerned about this act of violence against and the safety for the LGBTQ community.
A group of about 70 youth in masks and balaclavas gathered around the festival on Saturday before the start of the Festival, organized by Insight, a partner organization of RFSL. The group blocked an entrance to a building, and began spraying gas and throwing cans at the group of about 60 festival attendees.
According to Insight, the police began to react only after physical violence started. An estimated 17 people were detained after the incident, organizers said. ’’We demand qualification of this crime as a ’hate crime’ and a reform of legislation to make it easier to prevent and react on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic violence,’’ said Olena Shevchenko, the Director of Insight.
The Festival of Equality is an annual intersectional event, highlighting the human rights of LGBT persons, the rights of persons with varying abilities and nationalities as well as marking issues of domestic violence and gender-based discrimination. RFSL will continue to closely monitor the situation.