Remember the Odessa Massacre, Stop Fascism: Standing with the Mothers in Odessa
Many feared that there would be more violence in Odessa, Ukraine yesterday similar to what took well over 50 lives on May 2, 2014. But in fact the day was peaceful when up to 10,000 people gathered near the Trades Union Hall to place flowers and stand with the Mothers Committee in a make shift memorial. The public was blocked from having direct contact with the Trades Hall by huge numbers of local police, national security services and fully armed neo-Nazi Azov battalion members who have been incorporated into the newly formed ‘National Guard’ in Ukraine (equipped and trained by US Special Forces troops at a base in western Ukraine).
The morning began with a surprise outside our hotel window when we noticed that six buses full of Army personnel were using the spot as a staging area for the day’s events. After breakfast we joined a group of international alternative media people who were taken on a walk through this beautiful city to a park where another right-wing group Right Sector (Pravy Sector) was holding a small protest. They chanted some of their usual nationalist slogans but were nearly out numbered by the media people filming their every move.
I was taken by the feeling that the public seemed to be going about their normal Monday activities on this sunny but breezy day almost as if nothing was happening in a nearby part of town.
We next walked to the Trades Union Hall and as we approached I was overwhelmed by the huge numbers of people holding flowers heading toward the now sacred site. But we couldn’t actually get onto what is known as Kulikovo Square that fronts the Trades Hall. The entire area was sealed off and behind the plastic crime scene string of red tape were heavily armed Azov battalion members. The irony is that the neo-Nazis were now guarding the very grounds were those of their political ideology had committed the unpunished crimes of May 2, 2014. The people, including the mothers of the dead, were not allowed to lay their flowers at the scene of the crime.