More than 8,000 people joined the Gay Pride procession through
Ukraine’s capital on Sunday, the biggest ever in the country’s
history.
Demonstrators dressed in colourful clothing waved rainbow flags and
held up banners reading “Diversity is beautiful” and “Human rights =
happy country.”
“We go out to show that there are a lot of us and we have a lot of
support,” Ruslana Panukhnyk, director of the NGO KyivPride, which
organises the parade, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.
A group of soldiers in uniform from the war with Russia-backed
separatists in the east also marched at the event. Viktor Pylypenko,
who led the column of troops and veterans, said there were gay
soldiers on the frontlines who wanted to attend.
“There are lots of homophobes and because of these homophobes and
their homophobic commanders these people cannot come out,” he said
Police and National Guards lined the streets to keep the peace as
several hundred far-right and Orthodox activists staged a
counterprotest nearby. Authorities said earlier they had arrested nine
people on suspicion of preparing “provocations” against the parade.
“We are for God and Ukraine,” member of the opposition Radical Party
Oksana Korchynska told the Reuters news agency from the counterdemo on
Sunday. “For us it is important that people who have a sexual sin do
not make propaganda out of it.”