21:28 GMT16 April 2021
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    Activist from Odessa Alexander Prigarin said that the people of the Ukrainian city of Odessa come together every month to commemorate those who were killed in the deadly fire in the city's Trade Unions House, and urge the investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

    RICHMOND (Sputnik) — The people of the Ukrainian city of Odessa come together every month to commemorate those who were killed in the deadly fire in the city's Trade Unions House, and urge the investigation to bring those responsible to justice, activist from Odessa Alexander Prigarin told Sputnik on Sunday.

    "Every month we hold memorial events to remember the victims of this tragedy. We will never forget and will never forgive this tragedy," Prigarin said on the sidelines of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) conference in Virginia, adding that nobody was brought to justice.

    Prigarin noted that the memorial events were usually held at the Kulykove Pole square-garden near the Trade Unions House, located in the historical part of the city.

    "Not many people normally attend [the event] because they fear the provocations by the radicals… These are peaceful events like wearing special T-shirts or releasing black balloons," Prigarin said.

    "I came here to tell about the situation we are currently in. The people are at a loss to know what is happening. Some people get imprisoned in Odessa for fabricated and fictitious things. We would like to bring attention to the violation of the people's rights for expression. The Ukrainians are deprived of the democratic freedoms," Prigarin said on the sidelines of the conference in Virginia.

    Prigarin noted that the situation was similar in the other parts of Ukraine, stressing that journalists, activists and just regular pensioners were arrested for expressing their opinions.

    The activist gave the most recent example that occurred during the World War II commemoration event dubbed "Immortal Regiment" on Victory Day.

    "During the Immortal Regiment March on May 9 several people got severely beaten by radical activists for Soviet symbols like St. George's ribbon. They were beating both men, women, and children," Prigarin said.

    In May 2014, a group of Ukrainian nationalist radicals who were supporters of the newly installed Kiev government, clashed with anti-Kiev protesters in Odessa. Anti-government protesters attempted to hide in Odessa's Trade Unions House, which was then set on fire by Molotov cocktails hurled inside.

    The clashes and fire left 48 people, including seven women and one minor, dead while the overall number of casualties exceeded 250, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). According to media reports, 26 people from both sides currently stand accused in the case. The case has been on trial since November 2014, but hearings have often been rescheduled.


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    Ukraine, Odessa
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