Thousands of people protest in Ukraine for LGBT rights and safety

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Some 7,000 people gathered in the Ukrainian capital for the annual equality march for the rights of the country’s LGBT community

KYIV, Ukraine – Some 7,000 people gathered in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday for the annual equality march to support the rights of the country’s LGBT community.

Equipped with colorful costumes and rainbow flags, crowds marched through the streets of central Kiev, some carrying banners with the inscription “Fight for right!” Participants announced eight demands on Ukrainian authorities, including the legalization of civil partnerships for LGBT people and the creation of laws against LGBT hate crimes.

“We are tired of waiting for change and enduring systematic intimidation, pressure, disruption of peaceful events, attacks on activists and the LGBT community,” the protesters said in a statement. “We demand changes here and now because we want to live freely in our own country.”

“We are different, but we are equal,” Denisova said. “The Ukrainian constitution has declared that all people are equal in their rights from birth, regardless of their characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Several hundred activists opposed to the march organized their own rally in a park in Kiev. No clashes were reported.

Ukraine repealed criminal liability for homosexuality in 1991. In 2015, Ukraine’s labor laws were amended to prohibit discrimination of LGBT people in the workplace.

However, conservative groups in the predominantly Orthodox Christian country oppose LGBT rights, and members of far-right organizations regularly attack groups and events linked to the LGBT community. LGBT rights groups say Ukrainian police often ignore the homophobic or transphobic motives for the attacks, calling them hooliganism.


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