Elton John urges Ukraine to protect gays

  • @MrNickClark

Sir Elton John has called on Ukraine to halt the victimisation of gay people following a spate of attacks in the country.

During a concert on Saturday night, Sir Elton said: "I plead with you. Stop the violence against gay people." His appeal follows Human Rights Watch's call on the Ukraine authorities to investigate a brutal attack on a gay rights activist.

The 65-year-old musician was performing as part of the Euro 2012 football championship, which was co-hosted in the country, and finished last night with the final in the capital, Kiev.

Sir Elton is a regular visitor to the country, and the crowds cheered as he claimed it was his "second home". Yet he said: "Recently I read about violence against gay people in Ukraine. Beating up gay people is wrong. This for me does not symbolise Ukraine."

A gay pride march was cancelled shortly before the start of the tournament on 8 June, following threats of violence, with three organisers were attacked.