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Far-right activists attack first-ever Pride in Ukraine’s second largest city

Lily Wakefield September 16, 2019
Kharkiv, Ukraine Pride

Ukrainian police escort activists from the LGBT community during the Kharkiv Pride march.(SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty)

The second-largest city in Ukraine held its first ever Pride march but it was marred by violence from far-right activists.

According to a police statement, around 2,000 people took part in Kharkiv Pride on Sunday, September 15, but they had to be surrounded by around 2,500 police officers, many in riot gear.

The anti-gay protesters threw eggs at the march and, towards the end of the event, clashed with police in a nearby park.

Two police officers were treated for exposure to tear gas, according to RadioFreeEurope, and 17 people were arrested. However, according to reports, none of the Pride participants were injured.

Kharkiv Pride
Police arrest a person after attacking LGBT+ community activists during the Kharkiv Pride March in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. 9SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty)

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, tried to stop the march with a court order.

As well as violence, Kharkiv Pride had already faced a potential court order to stop the march from happening.

Kharkiv mayor Gennady Kernes said in a statement on September 2 that he would be applying to the court to prevent the march from taking place.

He said: “The Kharkiv City Council is not allowed to prohibit such events. But I, as a city head, am responsible for calm in Kharkiv.

“Therefore, I have decided to apply to the court to limit the holding of [Pride] in Kharkiv.”

However, according to Human Rights Campaign, the mayor’s efforts were blocked by the city council on September 9, which said it would work to ensure the safety of those involved in the march.

Three months ago, Ukraine’s largest ever Pride march took place in Kiev, but it also faced huge opposition from far-right protesters.

Nine men were arrested before the June 22 march on suspicion of planning to disrupt the event, but there was no sign of violence despite the presence of approximately 1,000 protesters who shouted “Shame!” as the procession began.

More: far right, gennady kernes, kharkiv, Pride, ukraine

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