Ukraine: Paramilitaries broadcast live pogrom against Roma on Facebook, the fourth in the last six weeks
Radio Free Europe reports that axes and hammers were used on 7 June by neo-Nazis from the Azov National Militia to perpetrate yet another assault on Romani people in Ukraine. Their entire 7 June pogrom in Holosiyivskiy Park in Kyiv was broadcast live by them on Facebook without police ever intervening.
The organized assault was the fourth of its kind to be committed against Romani people in Ukraine during the last six weeks. The National Militia was created by veterans of the ultra-right Azov Battalion in January and on 6 June issued an ultimatum, again through Facebook, to these particular Romani people instructing them to vacate their camp within 24 hours.
“When the police don’t act, the National Militia takes control of the situation,” the neo-Nazis posted to the social networking site. The extremists then published a 12-minute video edit of the attack on YouTube.
At the time of the assault there were just a few Romani women at the camp whom the neo-Nazis insulted. The footage shows the marauders asking a Romani woman and young girl who are fleeing with their belongings and dog whether they will eat the dog.
“I heard you eat dogs,” one of the men taunts them. Another man is later shown telling a Romani woman to “go back” to India.
At the end of the video uniformed Ukrainian police officers appear on camera but do not intervene against the neo-Nazis at all. On the contrary, the filming and taking of photographs of the incident apparently continues.
At the end of the video the marauders shout the slogan “Glory to the nation, death to our enemies!” in unison. A spokesperson for the Kiev police, Oksana Blyshchikova, first told the Hromadske TV channel on 7 June that the Romani people had already escaped from the camp prior to the attack beginning, which contravenes what can be seen on the video.
The police spokesperson later added that “nobody had been harmed” during the incident and nobody had been arrested. Even later in the day on the Ukrainian Police issued a statement to the effect that they have begun investigating the assault on the camp as one of “disturbing the peace”.
“All active participants in that action will be identified and brought to court,” the police said. “The police will thoroughly respond to violations of the law irrespective of who is committing the crimes.”
“Nobody has the right to commit unlawful activity, to issue ultimatums to others, or, in the interests of their pseudo-PR, to perform demonstration pogroms against other citizens, especially representatives of ethnic minorities,” the police said. The neo-Nazis in Ukraine have been regularly attacking Romani people.
In May neo-Nazi criminals assaulted a Romani camp in the western city of Ternopil. That was followed by the burning down of a camp in the nearby village of Rudne (Lviv Region).
Before that, in April, members of the neo-Nazi group C14 drove a group of Romani people away from their camp in the Lysa Hora nature reserve in Kyiv. Masked assailants threw rocks and sprayed tear gas on Romani children, men and women.
Human rights organizations are criticizing the Ukrainian authorities for ignoring violent attacks by neo-Nazis against Romani people and other minorities. “These people pose an actual physical threat to left-wingers, feminists, liberals, LGBT activists and human rights defenders as well as to ethnic and religious minorities,” Freedom House, an independent US-based group, reported last month as part of its Nations in Transit series.