The most massive march of March 8: several activists were beaten – attackers were detained
Feminist March under the slogan “No to violence of all formats – from maternity hospitals to military enlistment offices” was held today in Kyiv, on March 8. About ten radical young people tried to break into the column near the Opera House, but were detained by the police. Four people were taken to the police department.
As reported by reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre.
Participants of the March gathered on this day to remind about the women’s rights, discrimination against women in various areas of life, sexism, sexual and domestic violence. They also spoke out against homophobia and transphobia, as well as against sterilization of transgender people.
“Women’s rights are human rights”, “My body is my business”, “War does not save – war rapes”, “Rebel, love, do not give away rights”, “Today flowers and tomorrow cook at the stove” – with such slogans activists have begun the March against violence.
According to preliminary estimates, there were from 300 to 1000 people in the column and they moved from Sofiyskaya Square through Volodymyrska, Bohdan Khmelnytsky Streets and Khreshchatyk to the Kyiv City Council.
Near the Opera House about 10 radical young people attempted to attack the participants of the March. However, police prevented the attack: four detainees were taken to the police department.
One of the persons who attacked the March commented: “This is protest against such events, which disintegrate our society, which are trying to estrange the Ukrainian woman from the Ukrainian man”. When he was asked if he is against women’s righs, the man replied: “There are not only many women, there are many homosexuals…”.
Various social groups were present at the March. But as Oksana Pokalchuk, the Executive Director of the Amnesty International Ukraine, has noted, each and every one of us is here to protect our rights.
Olena Shevchenko, participant of the March:
“Today, on International Women’s Solidarity Day, we are here to speak out against violence at all levels, against domestic violence, against sexism. The Council of Churches influences political decisions in the State and says that violence is simply happening without reason. Council of Churches says that gender is propaganda of homosexuality. We are here to express that women’s rights are human rights. We are for labor rights, so that kindergartens and schools could work. We are for March 8 being a holiday, when women can come to the March and do not be afraid that they will be fired for this…”
Dinara Kasymbekova, participant of the March:
“I came to the March with demand to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which is an effective mechanism of protection against violence against women and domestic violence. Convention guarantees comprehensive assistance – from psychological to legal. Unfortunately, society does not believe in the existence of violence, but today’s attacks on the participants of the March showed that violence does exist. But, until the Ukraine’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention the attackers will remain unpunished, they will just be released…”.
Ksenia Chubuk, participant of the March:
“I am here to express my wish to abolish the shameful order, which prohibits women from working in more than 460 professions. In other words, they decide who to hire not based on skills, but based only on gender. And these are the most paid jobs. This is discrimination”.
Maya, participant of the March:
“I am here to fight for women’s rights. For equality in the professional area and against sexism and violence”.
Mila Yankina, participant of the March:
“I am a self-sufficient woman and everything I have I earned myself. I came to the March because I think it is necessary to speak out loud about equality”.
After the March, several participants have reported on the attacks on them, in particular, Oksana Pokalchuk wrote on her Facebook page: “After the March the four of us were attacked by a nationalist. He did not know who Sentsov, Kolchenko, Klykh are. He did not know about secret prisons of the Security Service of Ukraine. He knew nothing. He hit Volodya twice in the head, because he supported the “subhumans”, women I presume…”.
Feminist March was held in previous years. But, according to the organizers of the March, this year the March was the most ambitious.
Feminist March was organized by independent activists, the student association “FemSolution”, the Music Initiative “Rhythms of Resistance”, the independent student union “Direct Action”, “Feminist Critique: East European Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies”, Queer Home Kyiv, All-Ukrainian charitable organization “Legalife-Ukraine” and activists, leaders of the initiative groups of sex workers from eight regions of Ukraine, association “March 8 – Day of Struggle”, Amnesty International Ukraine.
Photo by Iryna Vyrtosu, Human Rights Information Centre