On May 28, a concert in protest against the ban imposed by the city council forbidding musicians to play in Shevchenko Gardens was held near the Shevchenko monument in Kharkiv.
The concert started at 6 pm with the participation of Alcohol Ukulele and Papa Carlo bands, composer and singer Borys Sevastyanov, kobzar Ivan Senin and others. The event was called “Shevchenko Gardens are not a concentration camp.” The activists of NGOs and political organizations joined the protest. In total, 200 people took part in the event.
“Today we have gathered not only for freedom of Shevchenko Gardens, but we have also gathered for the freedom of our city. The event aims to support Kharkiv residents’ will to use the city space freely. This is our park, like other parks and squares. This is our city and the city council should not be allowed to take rights of access and use away,” said Dmytro Bulakh, the deputy of the city council, the head of the Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center NGO.
“Busking for money donations” is one method of earning, people share their talent. This is very cool for the city atmosphere,” considers composer Borys Sevastyanov.
On May 20, the trumpeter Konstantin Oleinik, who is also known as Maidan Trumpeter, was prohibited from playing by Shevchenko Gardens’ security, claiming that they had an order regarding street musicians in the Gardens. They threatened the man, surrounded him pushing him aside from passers-by.
The next day, the musician played in protest at the city council entrance on Maidan Konstytutsii (Constitution Square in Ukrainian).
On May 21, the secretary of the city council, acting mayor Ihor Terekhov claimed that a Kharkiv resident had contacted him on social networks with a request to make Shevchenko Gardens a quieter place. Terekhov suggested street musicians perform on the stage near the Opera and Ballet Theatre.
On May 26, security chased the elderly bandura player Mykola Hrishko out of the park. The musician often plays on the streets and is well known to Kharkivites.
The next day, the Pravy Sector (Right Sector in Ukrainian) activists stood up for the bandura player: security watched the musician’s performance from a distance but did not intervene this time. The activists were holding posters “The park is for Kharkiv residents, not for the mayor.”
As of today, the city council press service hasn’t commented regarding any possible change of the authorities’ opinion on this issue.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: chronicles.pro, Kharkiv Today