Odessa Report 1, Arriving in Kiev: What Happened on the Maidan 5 Years Ago?

Memorial service on 10 May 2014 in honour of those who died in the clashes on 2 May, outside the burnt Trade Unions House ~HOBOPOCC, Flikr

by Joe LombardoUNAC

I am in Kiev, Ukraine with Pippa Bartolotti, a UNAC supporter from Wales, on our way to Odessa where there will be a mobilization to remember the massacre of more than 40 people who were at the Odessa House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014. The people at the House of Trade Unions were holding a vigil to protest the US supported coup that took place in Maidan starting in late 2013. The massacre was carried out by right-wing, pro-fascist forces many associated with the Right Sector, a coalition of pro-fascist organizations who had come to Odessa from throughout the country for a soccer match and used the opportunity to attack the protesters. More than 40 were killed and around 100 injured and although there are many cell phone videos showing people shooting the protesters and Molotov cocktails being made and thrown, no one has been prosecuted for the murders.

We are going to Odessa to express our solidarity with the Mothers Committee and to be international observers of the protest. The Mothers Committee is a committee of relatives of the victims that is organizing the protest. Each year on the anniversary of the massacre, the Mother’s Committee has organized a large mobilization to remember the victims and each year the extreme right-wing has threatened to attack it. However, the mobilizations have been large, and the right-wing group has been small, so the Mothers Committee has been able to hold the mobilizations each year.

In Kiev, we stayed at the hotel Dnipro. This hotel is right on Maidan Square where the anti-government mobilizations took place in 2013 and 2014. The hotel is one of the places around the square where snipers took up positions and fired on the Maidan protesters. The protest leaders many from the Right Sector and the international media blamed the shootings on the police. This helped turn the tide and led to the overthrow of the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. Today there has been a lot of evidence that it was not the police who shot the protesters but anti-government forces, supported by the US that did it to try and brand the government as violent and lead to another US regime change of a government it did not like.

The video below exposes some of the evidence of who did the shootings.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV5LiSEDZCk (10 min)

Here is another video that explains the shootings at Maidan: https://www.youtube.com/watch… (nearly an hour)

When we toured Maidan, we saw none of the trees that you can see in the second video, instead there are small newly planted trees. Our hosts explained that the trees were all taken down and new ones planted because the trees contained bullets, which were evidence of where they were fired from and the type of bullets used, and this countered the official story of what took place. Our hosts also explained that dozens of police were also killed by the snipers.

We should also remember Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland and John McCain coming to Maidan to encourage the protesters. Nuland’s phone conversation was hacked, and we heard her talking about who the US wanted as a replacement for the then leader of the Ukraine. Of course, that person, Arseniy Yatsenyuk was installed as the new Prime Minister after Maidan.

Our hosts also explained that there is a major street in Kiev that was named after a famous person who fought the Nazis during World War II, that street has now been renamed after John McCain.

What happened in Maidan is not unlike what happened in Syria and other countries where a peaceful protest, often against real grievances, is taken over by the US and its allies and turning into a violent confrontation to attempt regime change. The same playbook is being used in Venezuela today accept in Venezuela there is a popular government that is truly working for the betterment of the people, especially the poor and working people. So, the Venezuelans are preparing for attacks by the US, whether they be in the form of sanctions, sabotage of the electrical system, freezing of their accounts in foreign banks or military intervention.

The persistence of the Odessa Mothers Committee, the continuing resistance in Donbass and the vote of the people of Crimea to leave Ukraine are all indications of the continuing struggle in Ukraine which we can be confident will eventually lead to victory for the people and a defeat of US imperialism.


Joe Lombardo is a life long peace activist and union organizer.   He is a co-founder of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).

 

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