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This Ukrainian town hosted its first Pride march amidst threats by far-right groups

This Ukrainian town hosted its first Pride march amidst threats by far-right groups

Marchers at Kryvyi Rih Pride parade.

Another Ukrainian city boarded the equality train on Sunday 22 July. Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine’s eighth biggest city, hosted its very first Pride march despite threats by extremist groups.

37 local activists paraded through the streets of the fluvial city to protest for inclusivity and equality for the LGBTI community.

The expected number was supposed to be higher, as Head of the Organizational Committee of KryvbasPride 2018, Boris Zolotchenko explained.

‘Around 200 participants planned to join the march. Unfortunately, many changed their minds because of the threat of attack,’ he said.

‘On Saturday, the right-wing radical groups, and local Christian groups gathered together to conduct a collective prayer ‘against the hostility caused by the KryvbasPride’ and announced their intention to go on the streets the next day, right before the march.’

The march was heavily guarded by police

Police at Kryvyi Rih Pride.
Ukrainian police patrolled the area during the parade. | Photo: GAU

According to advocacy group Gay Alliance Ukraine (GAU), right-wing extremists also took to the streets on the day of the march. They later decided not to tease the police and rejected attacking the peaceful marching crowd. Instead, they sent out intimidating messages to members of the community.

During the night, many local LGBTQ activists received threatening messages.

The police planned a few different march routes. On the event day, they chose the safest variant, excluding the streets where the right radicals expected the pride walk to be on. Furthermore, about 100 policemen were at the parade, protecting the marchers.

Authorities tried to ban the Ukrainian Pride in Kryvyi Rih

Kryvyi Rih is the eight most populous city in Ukraine. However, only 37 activists took part in the march due to threats by far-right groups. | Photo: GAU

A group of local activists called KryvbasPride 2018 organized the march with the support of GAU.

Representatives from other regions of Ukraine took part in the pride walk as well. Among them, there were the participants and organizers of Kiev Pride, that took place last month, and Odessa Pride, planned for August.

The local district council tried to prevent the march. Earlier this month, they sent a letter to the activists urging them to cancel the march of equality.

The petition to ban the Pride on the council’s web page collected enough likes to end up on the agenda. However, only 12 out of the 38 deputies voted for the petition, which was successfully declined, as Ukranian human rights activists Maxim Eristavi confirmed in a tweet.

LGBTI equality in Ukraine

Although homosexual acts became legal in 1991, Ukraine still does not recognize same-sex couples. Consequently, marriage and adoption for Ukrainian same-sex couples aren’t legal.

‘As Ukranians, we want to feel safe on the streets of our cities. That is why we organized the Equality March, to say out and loud that we are not going to tolerate injustice anymore. We are the community that will fight for our right to a life without violence and persecution,’ Zolotchenko also said.

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