About five thousand gay pride marchers took to the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev, which lasted about 20 minutes despite opponents’ attempts to block them.
Some previous gay pride rallies in Ukraine have ended in violence. In 2015, a gay pride march was called off when right-wing activists pelted participants with smoke grenades
Last week, leading human rights organizations rebuked the authorities for police inaction in response to rising violence against ethnic minorities, women’s rights activists and LGBT people.
Early in the Saturday morning, more than 150 far-right protesters had sought to block off the route of the march through central Kiev. Small clashes broke out when police in riot gear moved to clear the street. “Several men who resisted and used gas canisters against law enforcement officers were detained,” the police said in a statement.
Far-right group C14 said police had surrounded its protesters, attacking them with batons and tear gas. “Look at how they protect ‘sexual minorities’ and violate the rights of regular Kiev citizens,” it said in a post on Facebook.
Kiev held its first major pride march in 2016 after the new government that came to power sanctioned such events.