Thousands attend Ukraine’s first major LGBT Pride event despite far-right threats of ‘rivers of blood’

Ukraine has held its first major LGBT Pride event in Kiev, despite threats from far-right thugs that they would ensure that “rivers of blood” would run through the streets.

More than a thousand people turned up for the Pride event in Kiev on Sunday.

Several thousand police officers lined the streets following threats from far-right groups that they would attack the event, as has happened in preivious years when demonstrations have been attempted.

“The road to equality in Ukraine is difficult as well as dangerous,” Bohdan Hloba, one of the rally’s organizers, said.

“We have been threatened with a ‘bloodbath’ but every step of this march gives us hope.”

Among slogans written on placards were “love has no gender” as well as rainbow flags.

But counter-protesters did take to the streets, carrying signs reading “Ukraine is no Sodom”.

One father of 12, Serhiy Hashchenko, 56, told ABC News: “I’m against gay propaganda that these sick people have organized here in collusion with authorities.”

In previous years, Pride has been called of in Kiev as authorities refused to police the event, and far-right thugs have attempted to interrupt other events.For the second time in a row, a Pride March is scheduled to take place in Kiev this Sunday.

From the European Parliament, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Sophie in ‘t Veld, and members Ana Gomes and Rebecca Harms announced that they would march along for equality and human rights.

n 2015, far-right hooligans attacked the event, and several police officers were injured.

This year, Neo-Nazis threatened to create a “bloodbath” at the event which takes place on Sunday.

Over the last year, Ukraine has made significant progress on the rights of LGBTI people. It included provisions in the Labour Code which outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at the work floor.

A National Strategy on Human Rights was also adopted which included provisions seeking to advance the rights of LGBTI people.

However, homophobia and transphobia remain severe problems.

Back in March an LGBTI festival in Lviv in the West of Ukraine, was cancelled following local authorities’ failure to protect the festival from far-right activists.

Thugs surrounded a venue of the LGBT festival and chanted “kill”, while hurling blunt objects at those inside.