Protestors in London this week called for the scrapping of Ukraine’s new laws banning Communist “symbols and ideology” and honouring war-time, Nazi collaborators. On Saturday 25 July protestors at the Embassy of the Ukraine in London’s Holland Park heard representatives of communist parties from Britain, Greece, Cyprus and Iraq demand the repeal of new laws aimed at banning the Communist Party of Ukraine.
On April 9, Ukraine’s new legislation banning ‘symbols and propaganda’ of Communism came into force. Monuments of Communist figures not already destroyed by fascist thugs in recent months are to be demolished. Cities and streets named after communists must be renamed.
The ban includes “production”, “circulation” or “public utilisation” of symbols such as the flag and anthem of the Soviet Union as well as monuments and historical plaques commemorating Communists from 1917 to 1991. Penalties for violating the law range from 5 to 10 years in prison.
Ukraine’s new laws require the renaming of “city districts, parks, boulevards, streets, alleys, driveways, avenues, squares, squares, embankments, bridges or other objects, place names of settlements whose names contain the communist totalitarian symbols”.
Condemnation of Nazism is a fig leave for Ukrainian president Poroschenko’s regime, which relies on neo-Nazi paramilitaries to retain power and recently passed a law “On Legal Status and to commemorate fighters for Ukraine’s independence in the twentieth century.”
The new law lists dozens of fascist organisations as ‘freedom fighters’, including Nazi collaborators such as the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army who massacred Jews, Poles and others during the Second World War. Their symbols are now widely used by far-right and paramilitary organisations which are now part of Ukraine’s state apparatus.
On 17 May 2015 Ukraine’s two new laws banning communist symbols and honouring Nazi collaborators came into effect.
Then on 24 July 2015 Ukrainian Justice Minister, Pavel Petrenko banned all communist parties from participating in elections.
Leader of Ukraine’s Communist Party, Pyotr Simonenko has declared his party will participate in the elections, despite the ban saying it represents the “trampling of democratic norms and European values and attitudes.
“This is political corruption, political immorality… It’s an attempt to establish political dictatorship,” Simonenko said.
Steven Johnson from the Communist Party of Britain reminded the London protestors of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem on the cowardice of German intellectuals in the face of Nazism in the 1930s:
“First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
The gathering was also addressed by David Ayrton on behalf of the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine campaign.
Further international protests against the fascist regime in Kiev are planned.
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