Ukraine holds country's largest ever gay pride parade

An estimated 8,000 people take to the streets in Kiev 

Chelsea Ritschel
Sunday 23 June 2019 19:17
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People march in Kiev's Pride Parade (Getty)
People march in Kiev's Pride Parade (Getty)

Thousands of people marched through Kiev for the annual gay pride parade, marking the biggest turn out the Ukrainian capital has ever seen.

On Sunday the city saw 8,000 attendees, among them politicians and foreign diplomats, participate in the celebration, an increase from 5,000 last year.

Among this year’s attendees was Judith Gough, the British ambassador to Ukraine, who shared photos of herself and other ambassadors at the march.

Despite the presence of a few hundred protesters, the event was peaceful, according to Reuters, which reports that hundreds of police officers flanked the crowd.

Dressed in colourful outfits, attendees marched holding banners and signs emblazoned with “Human rights = happy country” and “Diversity is beautiful”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian, has promoted a tolerant culture since he took office last month.

The city saw 8,000 attendees (Getty)
People march in Kiev's Pride Parade (Getty)

Ahead of the pride parade, the president’s office said on its Facebook page: "Ukraine's Constitution states that citizens have equal constitutional rights and freedoms.”

Officers flank marchers on Sunday's Pride Parade in Kiev (Getty)

One participant, a 17-year-old tattoo artist named Eduard, told Reuters: "Our desire is to convey to a majority of people that LGBT is normality.

"I am taking part for the fifth time. Ukraine is making significant progress compared to previous years, security and organisation are much better."

Following the parade, one of its organisers Ruslana Panukhnyk said she was pleased with “the cooperation from police”.

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Last year, more than 50 protestors were arrested for attempting to disrupt the parade in the Ukrainian capital.

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