Azov battalion representatives disrupt screening of film about Equality March

Representatives of the Azov battalion tried to disrupt screening of the March of Dialogue film by Oksana Poddubna in Kremenchuh, Poltava region. The screening was organized within the framework of the Docudays.UA film club on November 4.

Activist, project manager at the NGO "European club" Olena Hlazkova posted this on her Facebook page.

According to her, about 15 Azov members came to the club, some of them covered their faces with scarves.

The organizers offered them tea and coffee, but they began to shout that they would not allow to carry out "homodictatorship" in Kremenchuh and that "most of the city residents are Christians and they do not need this."

Also, according to Hlazkova, one of those present hung a poster about family values on one of the club’s walls, while another one stole the LGBT flag.

 “Someone said that all your ‘tolerant activists’ and refugees were not needed here in Ukraine! (an IDP from eastern Ukraine said that... clearly he did not associate himself with the refugees...) Many were recording on a video how a dozen boys were screaming on three women. I wonder where it will be released. Someone told me children should be brought up in two-parent families. We do not mind, but why these fathers came on Friday to scare the women instead of raising their children?" Hlazkova said.

According to her, the police did not respond to a previous statement by the organization with the request for guards and came only when they called an urgent call.

Film’s director Oksana Poddubna said in an exclusive commentary to the Human Rights Information Centre that disruption of the film "can be interpreted as an attack on freedom of speech, which is spelled out in the Constitution."

"These people violate the law with their intimidation, and return to the cave the past, where ‘being not like everybody was perceived negatively," Poddubna said.

Making her film, she pursued the goal "to show the level of tolerance in Ukraine: whether Ukrainian society is willing to accept otherness and has the understanding of human rights."

"The tolerance level is the most revealing at the example of attitude towards the LGBT community. The film shows how Christians say gays are sick, the priest says that gays are precursors of homodictatorship, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk argues that ‘we do not need gays’ and that ‘gay cannot be a patriot’. It also shows the attack on participants of the Equality Festival in Lviv – the right activists attacked with stones the peaceful activists, and the police did not even arrest any of the attackers. The main characters of the film are a gay couple, who got married unofficially and want to have the same economic rights as the heterosexual couples. The film was created to illustrate the human rights situation in Ukraine, the statistics are given for a viewer to have a full and objective picture and to draw own conclusions," Poddubna said.

According to her, the messages of those, who disrupted the screening in Kremenchuh, fully coincide with the words of the film’s characters.

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