April 2016 Protest in New Britain Against Manafort Prescient of Recent Indictments

Ukrainian Americans condemn Trump campaign’s hiring of Paul Manafort at April 23, 2016 protest. John McNamara photo.

Criminal charges are being made, now, against former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, but, on April 23rd, 2016, charges against Manafort were being made by members of the Ukrainian community in New Britain, warning of things now front and center in the national consciousness.

As Contributing Columnist John McNamara wrote at the time, “The Hartford area’s Ukrainian-American community, including members of three church congregations in New Britain, is speaking out against a city native with a well-known name among Republicans — Paul Manafort, the son of a former mayor, longtime Washington lobbyist and now campaign manager for the GOP’s unlikely frontrunner,  Donald J. Trump.”

The formal accusations against Manafort that include him, as the Washington Post reported, of arranging, “to hire two Washington-based lobbying firms to work on behalf of their Ukrainian clients,” and, “communicating directly with then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych about the effort,” are reminiscent of warnings from residents in New Britain, in April, 2016, who in, “calling for Manafort to exit the Trump campaign assert that Manafort and his colleagues ‘have made tens of millions of dollars representing some of the world’s most brutal dictators of the 20th century.'”

The New Britain protest occurred well before the Republican nomination for president and was actually held just ahead of the Connecticut presidential preference primary. A statement from the protesters in New Britain in April, 2016, led by Alex Kuzma, said,

Throughout his career Paul Manafort’s work overseas has been in direct conflict with the foreign policy interests of the United States and its allies, yet Manafort is now working to help influence the future of the highest office of the United States, pushing for a candidate who is more on message with Russian President Putin than our current U.S. President and member of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

At the New Britain protest, “A group of Ukrainian-Americans held up signs in protest such as ‘Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump’ and ‘Manafort’s Client Killed 104 Heroes.'”