A group of men viciously attacked a prominent LGBTI activist in Ukraine as he prepared for an upcoming Pride parade.
The alleged attackers targeted Borys Zolotchenko while he visited the industrial city of Kryvyi Rig. Zolotchenko was in town to help organize the upcoming Ukraine Pride parade.
Advocacy organization Gay Alliance Ukraine announced his assault, saying about ten men attacked him on Saturday night (30 June).
Organizers chose Kryvyi Rig to host the national Pride parade in mid-July. The city is about 350 kilometres (215 miles) southeast of the capital Kiev.
Friends took Zolotchenko who had minor injuries. He said the attack on him proved why Ukraine must forge ahead with a Pride parade.
‘I’m becoming more and more convinced that the March of Equality needs to be organised,’ he said.
‘We must show the authorities and society that safety and equality must be accessible to all Ukrainian citizens.’
Police in Kryvyi Rig were called after the attack, but reportedly did not turn up to investigate.
Saturday’s attack was the second attack on Zolotchenko this year. In January, police stopped investigating his attack because of a lack of evidence.
The only reason people know about the latest attack is because Zolotchenko is a high profile activist, according to Anna Leonova, executive director of the State Tax Administration.
‘Personally, I think that this assault is just the tip of the iceberg’, she said.
‘Annually dozens and hundreds of similar attacks on LGBT people remain out of the attention of society and law enforcement.’
Leonova called for authorities to create legislation which outlaw hate crimes based on sexuality and gender identity.
Just last month, Kyiv hosted a successful Pride parade with 6,000 people attending.
The march aimed to raise awareness of LGBTI rights and managed to go off without a hitch despite threats from far-right nationalist groups.