Ukrainians Hold Torchlit Rally in Kiev to Honor WWII Nationalist Bandera
© Sputnik / StringerMarch of nationalists in Ukraine
© Sputnik / Stringer/
KIEV (Sputnik) - Around 3,500 Ukrainians holding torches marched through central Kiev on Saturday in an annual tribute to a controversial wartime nationalist leader, Stepan Bandera, according to the national police estimates.
"Events to mark the 113th anniversary of Stepan Bandera went off without violations [of public order]. Some 3,500 citizens attended," the police said in a statement.
Demonstrators were carrying Bandera's portraits, flags of nationalist parties and white-red-white banners associated with the Belarusian opposition, a Sputnik correspondent said.
Ukrainian national police stepped up presence across the country for the duration of 56 mass gatherings in 20 provinces honoring the 20th-century nationalist figure.
The rally in Kiev is organized every year on January 1 by the right-wing Svoboda party to mark the anniversary of the man who remains an iconic figure for Ukrainian nationalists for leading an anti-Soviet insurgency, despite his role in massacres of Polish Jews in western Ukraine and collaboration with Nazis. Russia calls the rallies an act of Nazi glorification.