Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching in a gay pride parade in Kyiv on Sunday, the biggest and most peaceful ever in the former Soviet country.
Crowds of people, many dressed in bright colors, paraded along streets in the center of the Ukrainian capital, holding up banners saying “Diversity is beautiful”, “Human rights = happy country”, “No violence – yes rights!”.
They were flanked by a thick cordon of police in helmets but there was no sign of violence despite the presence of a few hundred protesters.
The United States Embassy in Ukraine has expressed support to a KyivPride March, which took place on Sunday, June 23. “Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. William B. Taylor: ‘I wish all #KyivPride March participants a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding day. We stand with all Ukrainians striving for equality and non-discrimination,'” the Embassy said on Twitter on June 23.
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. William B. Taylor: “I wish all #KyivPride March participants a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding day. We stand with all Ukrainians striving for equality and non-discrimination.”
— U.S. Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) June 23, 2019
Sunday’s march in Kyiv was part of “Pride Month” celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who took office last month, has promoted a tolerant culture, saying he stands for all people’s equality and freedom.
— Judith Gough (@JudithGoughFCO) June 23, 2019
Rebecca Harms, expert on Eastern Europe from the European Greens, participated this year in the Kyiv Pride, which took place on Sunday 23 June in Kyiv:
“It is good that Ukrainian activists have managed to establish the march for equal rights as a rally for freedom of assembly and pluralism. I welcome the fact that the National Police of Ukraine has consistently protected these fundamental rights in recent years”. The MEP stresses that this has also been made possible by the commitment of many diplomats and some politicians from Ukraine and the EU.
Harms noted that “Ukraine is ready to defend rights.”
— Rebecca Harms (@RebHarms) June 23, 2019
KyivPride is a Ukrainian non-governmental organization that aims at contributing to full respect for human rights for LGBT+ in Ukraine, at encouraging an appreciation for these rights by raising LGBT+ visibility and their participation in social processes. In addition to its activities throughout the year, NGO “KyivPride” organizes an annual event called the KyivPride-week.
Quick bit of history
The first Equality March was to be held in Kyiv in 2012 and was canceled due to the aggressiveness of the opponents.
In 2013, the Equality March was scheduled for Kyiv City’s anniversary. Several dozen participants marched through Peremohy Avenue.
In 2014, the event was canceled because police were incapable of providing security to the public gathering.
In 2015, the Equality March was held on Obolonska Promenade. About 250 people took part in the event.
In 2016, the Equality March was held on the 12th of June. The event had received widespread coverage in advance of the March. The number of participants ranged by various estimations between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
In 2017, March was held on the 18th of June. The convoy of participants marched through the center of Kyiv. Approximately 2,500 people took part in the march.
In 2018, March was held on the 17th of June. It took place in the city center. The number of participants increased up to 5,000.
Photo and video by Yunus Erdogdu | firstname.lastname@example.org