Several hundred Ukrainian-Americans tried to carry their demonstration to the doors of the Soviet Embassy yesterday afternoon to protest the 50th anniversary of what one demonstrator called "our Holocaust."
D.C. police said four persons were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct; no injuries were reported. More than two dozen police officers, including some from Special Operations Division, halted protesters yards from the embassy on 16th Street NW between L and M streets. D.C. law prohibits demonstrations closer than 500 feet from an embassy.
The protest, which started at 22nd and P streets NW, commemorated the 1933 famine during which, Ukrainians charge, Stalin deliberately allowed 7 million Ukrainians to starve. Organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee and the Ukrainian American Youth Association, the protest drew a dozen busloads of demonstrators from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Virginia.
For a half-hour, protesters sang Ukrainian hymns and jabbed at the lowering sky with handprinted signs: "Freedom for the Ukraine," "Famine--Made in Moscow," and "Today El Salvador, Tommorow Mexico, The Day After?"
Several raised wrists ritually bound with black ribbon. Most of the protesters wore black buttons, centered with a skull.
As a cordon of police officers holding wooden clubs gradually backed the crowd down 16th Street to K Street, the demonstrators chanted, "Put Moscow on trial!" and "Russian butchers go to hell!"
"Thirty-seven years I live here; I work in sweat shops, grateful for a piece of bread," said a woman, who would not give her name because she said KGB agents were among the crowd.
The demonstration began peacefully with a rally in Dupont Circle in midafternoon. Speakers at the rally read a proclamation by Mayor Marion Barry, declaring May 21 "Ukraine Day of Remembrance;" statements from President Reagan and Vice President Bush, and a commemorative resolution from the House of Representatives.