MEPs celebrate success of Kyiv Pride, despite far-right attacks

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

MEPs have celebrated that this year’s pride march in Kyiv was relatively successful, and was unhindered by attacks by far-right protesters.

Around three hundred took part in the march for equality as 2,000 police officers were there to protect them.

The Swedish ambassador and several MPs attended the event, and the Ukrainian President Poroshenko said it is “is a constitutional right of every Ukrainian citizen,” to be allowed to march publicly.

Despite being a success, the march was attacked twice, nine police officers and ten participants were injured.

Stones and smoke bombs were thrown by the far-right counter-demonstrators, and 25 people were arrested for “illegal actions” against the march.

The first ever Pride in Kyiv took place in 2013, attracting more than a hundred participants, despite efforts by a “very small” number of people to disrupt the event.

The 2014 march was called off at the last minute when authorities said they could not guarantee the safety of participants.

Terry Reintke MEP, who participated in the march, reacted: “The Pride that took place in Kyiv this weekend was an important step for human rights in Ukraine and all over Europe.”

“At the same time the attacks make apparent that we still have to fight against homophobia and hatred. With one police man severely wounded and dozens of peaceful pride participants injured after the violent assaults of militant nationalists the struggle for security of LGBT* population has to continue.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, added: “Every single, brave individual, whether activist, politician or police, in the Kyiv Pride showed the world how European values in Ukraine anno 2015 look like. What happened in Kyiv is putting into practice the lessons of Maidan: freedom and human rights for everyone.”

“I congratulate President Poroshenko and the participating Members of Parliament for their support to the march, and I strongly encourage all political leaders, including Mayor Klitschko, to join in and speak out for equality and fundamental rights.”

The Mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, had previously stated that the march should be cancelled, as it “inflames hatred.”

Kyiv’s oldest cinema was nearly burned to the ground in October – when it was set on fire during the screening of a ‘gay’ film.