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June 25, 2019 at 1:54 pm PDT | by Michael K. Lavers
More than 8,000 march in Kyiv Pride parade

More than 8,000 people participated in the Kyiv Pride parade on June 23, 2019. (Photo by Jorge Franganillo via Flickr)

More than 8,000 people participated in the Ukrainian capital’s annual Pride parade that took place on Sunday.

The Associated Press reported police kept parade participants separate from LGBTI rights opponents who protested the event. Officials said nine people were arrested during the parade, but Kyiv Pride Director Ruslana Panukhnyk told the Washington Blade there were “no major incidents.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv on Twitter said dozens of its staffers participated in the parade. Scottish MP Stewart McDonald and U.N. representatives are among those who also took part.

“It was a great Sunday for democracy and human rights equality in Eastern Europe,” Kyiv Pride board member Maksym Eristavi told the Blade. “Kyiv Pride has doubled in size. There were less incidents, more public and international support, superb work by law-enforcement. Saying that, (I) want to emphasize that this is a success of just one day out of 365.”

Panukhnyk said members of “far-right groups” last week attacked several people who attended a movie screening that was part of Kyiv Pride. Sunday’s parade also took place against the backdrop of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity that remains commonplace in Ukraine.

“The rest of the year queer Ukrainians face constant discrimination, violence and fear, while attacks on them are never prosecuted or officially condemned,” Eristavi told the Blade.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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