Demand for justice for victims of Odessa massacre

by New Worker correspondent

ANTI-FASCISTS gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy in Holland Park, west London on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the massacre two years ago of at least 48 opponents of the coup d’état in Kiev that ousted the elected government and brought in an extreme right-wing government, which included open Nazis.

On 2nd May 2014 supporters of Kiev’s authorities represented by various extremist organisations that supported the violent change of Government, and supporters of federalisation that would enable Ukraine to maintain its integrity, came into conflict with each other in the streets of Odessa.

These actions resulted in the deaths and injuries of many people. Six men died in the city’s centre: two were Government supporters and four were “pro-federalism” supporters. Later in the day an aggressive mob, including football hooligans, went to Kulikovo square.

First of all the attackers burned the camp of federalisation activists in the square. In the course of these activities people were attacked and severely beaten with baseball bats, iron chains and even shot with firearms. The camp was set on fire; as a result people took refuge in the building of Trade Unions House.

Dozens of people were trapped. But even after the fire in the Trade Unions House the attackers continued beating to death people gathered in the building. Fleeing from the fire, some people jumped from the windows of the second and third floor and were shot at as they fell. After they fell to the ground, some were beaten to death.

Other besieged people sought refuge on the roof of the building, from where they were later rescued. Some died from suffocation or were burned alive.

Unfortunately it is not known how many persons really died and disappeared, except for the available official information, namely — 48 people were killed in clashes. Some eye witnesses claim the true number could be over 100 — but if official records showed that over 50 had died this would have triggered an automatic United Nations investigation.

Since then not one of the illegal pro-Kiev government supporters responsible for the murders has been arrested or charged.

The families of the victims are now campaigning for a full United Nations investigation into the massacre, which was the decisive factor in the decision by the peoples of Donetsk and Lugansk to withdraw from Ukraine and set up their own break-away government rather than be ruled by fascists in Kiev.

The Council of Mothers of 2nd May 2014

Public Association of Victims of Violence in Odessa issued a statement: “We, the mothers, fathers, siblings, relatives and friends of the victims of the 2nd May 2014 violence in Odessa, as well as Odessa residents supporting a return to the rule of law, and our call for justice, are turning our hopes to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to appoint a group of experts to undertake an independent, impartial, objective and credible investigation into the tragedy that led to the death of at least 48 residents, and possibly more.”

The protesters outside the embassy on Monday gave their full support to this call. Alex Gordon, speaking on behalf of Solidarity with Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine (SARU) made a speech calling for justice for the victims of Odessa and all victims of fascism.

He also reminded the crowd that 2nd of May is the date in 1933 when Nazi Germany closed down all its trade union offices throughout the country, banning unions, and arresting communists and trade unionists and imprisoning them in Dachau.

The NCP leader Andy Brooks also spoke, mentioning the hypocrisy of the British government and media in hounding and witch-hunting left-wingers and anti-fascists of long standing with bogus accusations of anti-Semitism, whilst at the same time supporting, with taxpayers’ money and troops, the re-emergence of real Nazism in Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The embassy protest was followed by a showing of Paul Moreira’s film Ukraine: Masks of Revolution, produced by French TV channel Canal Plus, at the Marx Memorial Library.

About 25 people from SARU branches outside London and a range of parties and trade unions were present, and the discussion looked at the roles of Russia, the EU and the US in Ukraine, and plans for SARU’s future campaigns.