Thousands attend Pride in Ukraine despite death threats

Police protect Kyiv Pride marchers during 2017 Pride

Thousands of people marched in Kyiv Pride yesterday despite death threats to the organisers and far-right protesters.

The march through the capital of Ukraine drew a crowd of 2,500 markers according to police spokesperson Oksana Blishchik.

Judith Gough, the British ambassador to Ukraine, also joined the march which she said was held in a “fine party atmosphere”.

Participants chanted “we’re different, we’re equal” and “Ukraine for all” as they took to the streets of Kyiv.

“Finally in our country, we are able to come out for our rights and show that we exist,” said one participant, Tetyana.

“I feel nervous and happy that I can come out and not fear anything.”

5,000 police officers were placed on duty to protect the marchers who were targeted by far-right nationalists.

It is estimated that around 200 anti-LGBT protesters turned up to the event which saw a few violent break outs between police and protesters.

Two officers were injured and six were arrested for trying to breach the security cordon.

Organisers received death threats online on the day of the march, and those attending the parade were warned that it would end in a “bloodbath”.

The route was also redirected as protesters filled the main street which the rally was supposed to go down.

One protester, a student called Irina, said: “I’m convinced that this is wrong. It’s a sin and it can destroy our country morally.”

The first Pride attempted was in 2014, but authorities called it after police refused to protect participants.

In 2015, the Pride parade was called off after right-wing protesters threw smoke grenades at LGBT activists.

2016 saw the first successful Pride parade with an estimated 1,500 participants.