Another Nigerian student, Olaolu Sunkalmi Femi, appeared in court this week to face attempted murder charges after he fought back against an attack by five Ukrainians in what he says was a racist crime. He fended off his assailants with a broken bottle, fearing for his life, and some of them suffered light cuts, his defense team says. If convicted he faces a minimum 10-15 years, and up to life.
"We hope that the court will do justice, but the very fact that he's accused and in jail is lamentable," said Maksym Butkevych, a human rights activist with the Kiev-based advocacy group No Borders.
Most observers here agree that boycotting Euro 2012 would be a bad idea. Chikelu said many of his Ukrainian friends are unaware of racism being a problem and that being exposed to people from different cultures and backgrounds will boost tolerance.
"Their coming is an instrumental way to solve the problem," he said. "Staying away doesn't help it."
Euro 2012 "will give an opportunity to Ukrainians to see that people of different colors live in other countries and that will help promote diversity in Ukraine," said Asante-Eboa, the African community leader.
Activists say the Euros should also prompt Ukrainian authorities to investigate and prevent racist attacks and promote tolerance when the championship is over.
"I would be more happy if they can guarantee that this country is racism-free after the Euro period," said Fedorovich, the anti-racism activist.
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