: Radical thugs target LGBT equality conference in Lviv
Society21:31 Mar. 19, 2016
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Radical thugs target LGBT equality conference in Lviv

Firecrackers and stones were thrown by far-right protesters towards LGBT conference participants

A shameful day for human rights in Ukraine. That's how one journalist described these scenes.

A festival of equality was scheduled to happen here, at the Hotel Dnister in Lviv. Organizers say such conferences aim to drive social change - in a country where LGBT groups have long been discriminated.

The community's task, clearly visible outside the venue. Dozens of young thugs and radical group members waited menacingly- many covering their faces in front of the camera.

Read also Ukrainian government plans to submit a bill on same-sex 'civil partnership' legalization

Police with helmets and batons sealed off the hotel - a sign provocations had been expected. Firecrackers were lit and stones were thrown by the thugs. Later, a phone call. A bomb threat forced activists to flee to a waiting bus, before being hurried away. No-one was injured.

Read also LGBT rights not observed in east Ukraine

Earlier this week, Lviv city officials banned all mass rallies, saying such measures were needed to guarantee public safety. But activists say not enough is being done to stop discrimination and protect the constitutional rights of the LGBT community in Ukraine

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LGBT equality conference in Lviv (UNIAN Photo)

Police say no arrests were made at the hotel - instead calling it a provocation.

Olena Shevchenko, LGBT equality conference organiser: "I am asking those forces (groups) who feel provoked - why do you believe that you have the right to beat somebody or disrupt such any event. What provokes you? Now in Lviv, there around six different festivals. Our position - all mass events have the right to take place and police must protect people's right to assemble."

Activists vow to continue their fight for equality, however long it takes.

 

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