22:00 28/1/2018
On Sunday, January 28 social activists in Lviv scheduled a rally entitled ‘Circus without animals’ imitating the ‘Continental’ shows held in Lviv State Circus. According to rally organizers, ‘Continental’ is a circus show program involving animal exploitation, violent training methods, cruel treatment and poor nutrition. Proper handling was announced the main purpose of the rally.

Several minutes after the start of the protest, a group of unidentified people appeared on the square, throwing smoke bombs at rally participants and police members. “First few minutes of the protest passed peacefully, until young men wearing symbols of ‘Azov’ and ‘Misanthropic Division’ began attacking us with smoke bombs”, say protest organizers on the ‘Ecological platform. Lviv’ web-page.

However, the police used force only to arrest rally attendants (over 10 people), who claim that police officers said they were not ‘arrested’, but ‘invited’. Possession of restricted means of protection (metal poles) was named the primary formal ground for arrest, although the detainees assert they did not carry any illegal items.

The rally was not banned by court. Organizers connect their arrest with far-right infringements upon peaceful gatherings involving representatives of the left and anarchists. “I was arrested during a rally in front of the circus. Police acted in accord with the right”, says one of the protesters R. Bahayev. Certain people arrived to the police station bruised up due to violent behavior of the police.

“We are all arrested and waiting in the auditorium of a local police station, there are also girls and teenagers among us. The right shook hands with police, chanting ‘White pride’. A fellow who was only hanging around also got arrested”, adds one of the participants on his page.