Vigils for innocent victims, anti-war rallies held in Russia, Ukraine (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Up to 17,000 people gathered in Moscow on Saturday for a remembrance vigil of all those who perished during the conflict in neighboring Ukraine. Organized by Mothers of Russia and National Parenting Association, the event was attended by representatives across the political spectrum to show their solidarity with the people of eastern Ukraine and emphasize their unwillingness to politicize on the tragedy.
The event took place near the Tragedy of Peoples Monument on Poklonnaya Gora as the organizers apparently tried to draw parallels between the victims of the Nazi genocide and Kiev's alleged support for ultra-nationalist ideology.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, thousands took onto the streets of Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Nikolaev and several others cities for the March of Peace – but in some cities were quickly dispersed by police who arrested some of the activists. The ultra-nationalist Right Sector also reportedly did their best to prevent the protests from gaining international attention.
"Марш Мира" в Запорожье был разогнан милицией и СБУ. pic.twitter.com/PHCCrm7aOF
— Novorossia ZPresp. (@zap_nar_resp) September 27, 2014
In Zaporizhia, some 1,500 took to the streets despite a ban by the authorities, but were not allowed to speak out against what they called the Blind War. The police and the Right Sector “violently dispersed” the march, one of the organizers Igor Sysoenko told RIA, adding that he was briefly detained too with the security forces threatening "to break his arms and legs".
In the Eastern city of Kharkov, the protest was crushed in advance with armored vehicles rolling on to the streets to “secure order,” Ukraine's Interior Office in Kharkov announced on Saturday.
“To augment measures to guard public order, the chief administration of Ukraine's Interior Office in Kharkov has made a decision to put tanks … patrolling of the city streets,” reads the statement.
— Maidan Kharkiv (@MaidanKharkiv) September 27, 2014
“Unfortunately, the march did not take place today; they did not let us hold it,” Natalya Kovshar, second secretary of Kharkov's city committee of the Ukrainian communist party told RIA Novosti.
— Сайт Харькова 057.ua (@NewsKharkov) September 27, 2014
Several dozen people who still dared to attend the “illegal” and “anti-Ukrainian” rally were surrounded by police and “forcefully dragged into the buses that took them to the regional department of the Interior Ministry,” Kovshar stated. Around two dozen arrests have been confirmed by the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
In Odessa around 1,500 people gathered to protest against government's war against its own people, but again members of the Right Sector prevented the march from taken place.
“People started joining the peaceful protest, but they were not allowed to start it; representatives of the Right Sector appeared immediately. The police were passive,” activist Oleg Negaturov told RIA.
In the capital, Kiev, the march however did take place with over 3,000 anti-war activists in attendance, some with disabilities.Activists were also able to march for peace in Dnepropetrovsk, where more than 1,000 people took part.
Варшава поддерживает Новороссию и скорбит о погибших pic.twitter.com/6kIFytHe2A
— PolitRussia.ru (@PolitRussiaRu) September 27, 2014
Meanwhile in Warsaw and Poland, hundreds also gathered to condemn Kiev's actions in the east and to show support for the self-determination struggle of Lugansk and Donetsk regions.