Ukrainian transgender rights activists return home after far rights groups and police personnel violently attacked protesters and brought the rally to a premature end Sunday.
A group of 40 protesters gathered in Kiev, demonstrating against homo and transphobia and carrying rainbow-striped flags and signs with the words: “Transphobia must be stopped,” and “If you stay silent, they will come after you too.”
The army of activists met with violent alt-right demonstrators who attacked the group with smoke bombs and pepper spray. When marchers attempted to move to a second location, counter-demonstrators followed them and continued to harass protesters. Two women and one Canadian Journalist Michael Colborne covering the event sustained some injuries.
“It is difficult to accept that some people are ready to resort to violence simply because other people are slightly different,” an activist named Elis told Reuters.
Colborne reported from Twitter, saying that police officers “not only stood by, but physically manhandled" activists during the “city-sanctioned” event.
"Today's events have demonstrated that the level far-right radical aggression and violence is increasing in Ukraine," march organizers said on Facebook.
Colborne who suffered multiple assaults, a swollen lip, and cuts from his broken glasses said that the attacks were "further proof” that Ukraine has a huge far-right problem, and that Ukrainian officials should stop downplaying it.”
In a later tweet, Colborne explained that despite his complaints, “Former Ukrainian diplomat who worked at the Ukrainian embassy in DC and other government offices thinks it's "good" for western journalists to get assaulted in Ukraine.”