A peaceful gay pride march yesterday was disrupted by right-wing activists, members of the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) a group which had been active in demonstrations to unseat the Ukranian President last year.
The group’s aim was to disrupt the protest and ‘defend conservative values’. Numbering about 12, and wearing Right Sector insignias, they had jumped off a bus and attempted to attack the marchers.
As scuffles broke out, 10 people were injured and 25 arrests were made, as police tried to defend the gay pride activists.The police arrested those who had tried to upset the march (who were dressed in balaclavas) and they were taken in for questioning.The police at Kiev said that, as well as one police woman suffering a neck injury, eight of their officers and one right-wing activist were slightly injured.
The march, entitled The March of Equality, and supported by the Ukrainian president, was scheduled to last only ten minutes, because of security fears. It was held on the outskirts of the capital, at a scenic part of the Dniepr river, where appromimately 100 LGBT activists had gathered, having been informed of the location by the organisers only a few hours before.
Speaking the day before the march, the President of Ukraine, Poro Poroshenko, said the gay pride parade had his support, as it was the “constitutional right of every Ukrainian citizen”. He also said that he was viewing it from the point of view of a Christian and as a pro-European president, and felt that these two ideas were compatible.
Amnesty International have criticised the Ukrainian authorities for not doing more to stop attacks against gay pride marchers, but said:
“The fact that the march went ahead as planned means that Ukraine passed an important step”.