Ukraine hosts biggest ever gay pride parade

Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching in a gay pride parade in Kiev on Sunday, the biggest and most peaceful ever in the former Soviet country

Biggest and most peaceful ever gay pride parade

Crowds of people, many dressed in bright colours, paraded along streets in the centre of the Ukrainian capital, holding up banners saying 'Diversity is beautiful', 'Human rights = happy country', 'No violence - yes rights!'.

(Photograph:Reuters)

No sign of violence

They were flanked by a thick cordon of police in helmets but there was no sign of violence despite the presence of a few hundred protesters.

Sunday's march in Kiev was part of 'Pride Month' celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Tolerant culture

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who took office last month, has promoted a tolerant culture, saying he stands for all people's equality and freedom.

Zelenskiy's office urged the police to prevent violence and guarantee the safety of participants in the March of Equality.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Equal constitutional rights and freedoms

'Ukraine's Constitution states that citizens have equal constitutional rights and freedoms,' it said in a post on its Facebook page on Sunday morning.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Government's increased support for LGBT

Under Western-backed leadership, Ukraine's parliament passed legislation in 2015 to ban discrimination in the workplace as part of a series of laws Ukraine needed to pass to qualify for a visa-free travel agreement with the European Union.

The government has increased support for LGBT rights since a Western-backed leadership came to power in 2014, but critics say homophobic attitudes remain relatively widespread.

Almost 47% of Ukrainians think that rights of sexual minorities should be limited while 37.5% are against restrictions, and 15.6% do not have an opinion, according to a survey published by independent think-tank Democratic Initiatives last December. It interviewed 1,998 people.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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