MAY 2 UPDATE (4.28.19):
This May 2 will mark five years since a fascist-led mob attacked and set fire to the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, Ukraine, causing the deaths of at least 42 people with more than 100 injured.
As part of an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa, a vigil will be held from noon to 1 p.m. May 2 outside the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., supporting the demand of relatives of those killed for an international investigation into the massacre, something that has never happened.
Members of the U.S.-based Odessa Solidarity Campaign will deliver a letter to Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, urging him to abandon the ultra-nationalist policies of his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, and agree to finally allow the truth to emerge about the tragic events of May 2, 2014. The letter also will call for an end to the political repression of the relatives and of journalists investigating the tragedy.
Among those planning to attend the vigil are members of the Embassy Protective Collective, the group of activists now protecting the Embassy of Venezuela from the threat of an illegal occupation by opponents of the legitimate administration of Nicolas Maduro. Following the Odessa vigil, activists will gather at the Venezuelan Embassy for a presentation by OSC coordinator Phil Wilayto on the similarities between the U.S. interventions in Venezuela and Ukraine.
The massacre on May 2, 2014, came just months after the democratically elected president was forced out of office in a violent U.S.-backed coup under circumstances similar to what we are now seeing unfold in Venezuela.
Many cellphone videos of the attack have been posted on the Internet, clearly showing people setting the five-story union building on fire with Molotov cocktails. People can be seen jumping from the burning windows and being beaten to death when they hit the ground. But, to date, not one of the perpetrators of these murderous actions has been brought to justice. At the same time, survivors from the arson as well as several of their sympathizers were arrested. Many of them are still in prison, never having been charged with a crime.
Family members, friends and supporters of the victims and survivors have repeatedly held memorials at the site of the killings, demanding an international investigation leading to prosecution of those responsible. Each year on May 2, thousands of Odessans gather there, despite repeated threats by neo-Nazi organizations to attack the mourners. And each year solidarity actions are held in cities around the world to support the people of Odessa in their demand for an international investigation and an end to the harassment and legal repression of survivors of the May 2 tragedy, of their relatives and supporters, and of journalists attempting to investigate the tragedy.
The Washington vigil is sponsored by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign in solidarity with many other actions planned for that day in other cities, including Vienna, London, Budapest and Moscow.
The Sweden-based organization Prague Spring II has posted the call for international May 2 actions in English, German, Russian and Swedish: https://solidaritywithodessa.wordpress.com
NOTE: Odessa activists are asking that supporters post one of their poster images on their Facebook page (change your profile photo for the day or longer), and on Instagram, Twitter, etc. The images are available here: https://odessasolidaritycampaign.org/