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Kiev hosts heavily policed gay parade (PHOTOS)

The event reportedly lasted only ten minutes before law enforcement called it off for security reasons

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev hosted a gay parade on Sunday for the first time since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The event featured a large police presence and was stopped after just a few minutes for “security reasons,” according to local media reports.

The parade was organized by the KyivPride group, an organization that promotes LGBTQ rights in Ukraine, to mark Pride Month. The organizers announced their intention to hold the march in early May but provided few details about the event.

According to the Ukrainian media, strict security measures were imposed. Preliminary registration was required for attendance and the starting location and route details were only divulged to registered participants.

The organizers reportedly initially planned to hold it in the Kiev metro but this was not allowed by the city authorities on the grounds that metro stations also serve as bomb shelters and are thus “dual-use facilities and a part of the city’s critical infrastructure.”

Participants instead gathered in the Kiev office of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency in the city center and walked past it for around ten minutes before the police called the event off, citing security reasons. Around 500 people took part, according to media estimates.

Photos and videos from the parade published on social media showed a crowd of people waving the Ukrainian flag and LGBTQ flags. Many people in the crowd were also holding banners and placards demanding more weapons for Kiev.

“Artillery, air defense, tanks, HIMARS – arm Ukraine now!” one of them read. Another banner called for Kiev to be armed so that a “Pride in Mariupol” could be possible. Mariupol is a city in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic that was taken by Moscow’s forces in May 2022 following a months-long siege.

Some participants were also seen wearing military uniforms and camouflage. The Danish and French ambassadors to Kiev also posted photos on social media showing them walking together with other participants. Both wrote they were there “with colleagues” from the diplomatic corps. The Italian embassy in Kiev also said on X (formerly, Twitter) that the nation’s diplomats “joined” the parade.

According to some reports, a “crowd of people” also gathered at a different location in central Kiev and sought to stage a counter-protest to defend “traditional values.” They reportedly tried to reach the KyivPride march but the latter ended before they could do so. The number of participants in the counter-protest remains unclear.

The LGBTQ movement in Ukraine has been seeking to take a more prominent role in society amid the conflict with Russia. Its proponents have reportedly argued that an increased LGBTQ presence in the country would somehow hurt Moscow.

READ MORE: Kiev to stage gay parade

Ukrainian officials and activists also expressed their hope that supporting the LGBTQ movement would help Kiev win the approval of its Western backers. In 2023, former Deputy Culture Minister Inna Sovsun submitted legislation to recognize same-sex civil unions. She openly argued at the time that the move would please the West and boost Ukraine’s chances of joining the EU.

June 17, 2024 at 02:27AM

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