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EVENIN
GS OUT

 


June, 2015

Kiev Pride attacked, marchers stand tall

Kiev, Ukraine--The March for Equality took place on June 6, and reporter and activist Masha Gessen was there, writing for the New Yorker.

Gessen, a vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was there to see if organizers could pull off the march, despite the threat of violence from far-right ultranationalist groups. Those groups opposed Russian intrusions into Ukraine, but held similar beliefs as the Russian government when it came to the LGBT community, viewing it as Western imperialism.

Organizers had been in negotiations with police officials for weeks trying to get protection for the march, and the eventual location, near the Dnieper River on the cityís edge, was dictated by police.

Gessen points out that many of the marchers had been involved in the protests in Kievís central square, the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, which topple the former government. Many of those protesters believed that the demonstrations had won them the right to march freely, to love who they wished, to be out and proud in their beloved country.

A week before Kiev, a Moscow pride parade saw its participants brutally beaten and arrested, while in Kiev, buses full of riot police protected the marchers from thugs in black T-shirts with the logo of the Right Sector, the ultranationalist coalition, or in camouflage.

Police repeatedly beat back the attackers, both before and during the march. The ultranationalists threw flares and firecrackers laced with pieces of metal that would work as shrapnel, seriously injuring a police officer that Gessen saw.

In the end, ten marchers had minor injuries, nine policemen, one severely, and 25 thugs were arrested.

While the attacks were terrifying, it marks one of the first times police in an eastern European nation have protected gay civil rights marchers at the expense of right-wing thugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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