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Written declaration No. 606 | Doc. 14037 | 21 April 2016

Lviv Equality Festival broken up by right-wing extremists with tacit support of city authorities and local police

Signatories: Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Charles ALLAVENA, Monaco, EPP/CD ; Mr Tobias BILLSTRÖM, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Sílvia Eloïsa BONET, Andorra, SOC ; Ms Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN, Norway, SOC ; Ms Ute FINCKH-KRÄMER, Germany, SOC ; Ms Tina GHASEMI, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Jonas GUNNARSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Domagoj HAJDUKOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Ms Eva-Lena JANSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Mogens JENSEN, Denmark, SOC ; Mr Michael Aastrup JENSEN, Denmark, ALDE ; Mr Carles JORDANA, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Kerstin LUNDGREN, Sweden, ALDE ; Mr Dirk Van der MAELEN, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Meritxell MATEU, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Christine MUTTONEN, Austria, SOC ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Bernard PASQUIER, Monaco, ALDE ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Mechthild RAWERT, Germany, SOC ; Ms Azadeh ROJHAN GUSTAFSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Andreas SCHIEDER, Austria, SOC ; Mr Nico SCHRIJVER, Netherlands, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Ms Tineke STRIK, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

An attempt by LGBTI groups to hold an Equality Festival in Lviv in March was broken up by right-wing extremists with the tacit support of city authorities and the local police.

The organisers initially faced threats of violence following hostile statements by religious leaders and local politicians, but the mayor and the police ignored requests for help. Public events were banned by the authorities. During an unsuccessful appeal to the city court, a hostile mob was allowed to intimidate the organisers. With no guarantee of protection, venues booked for other events were withdrawn.

The Festival ended with 60 participants trapped in a hotel by a mob of 200 extremists. Lviv police refused to intervene, one calling the organisers “provocateurs”. After appealing to Kiev, Special Forces police arrived four hours later. Then police said there was a bomb threat and the participants were evacuated in buses, under a hail of stones and firecrackers, to chants of “kill, kill, kill.” No one was arrested.

Subsequently the Mayor of Lviv wrote that the Festival was “a carefully planned provocation”.

We call upon the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the prosecution of those responsible and to take measures to guarantee that such events are never repeated.