News / Europe

Ukraine Gays Hold First March, Protected by Police

Police stand guard as gay rights activists stage a march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.
Police stand guard as gay rights activists stage a march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.
Reuters
About 100 Ukrainian gay rights activists held the country's first gay rally Saturday, helped by police who arrested 13 people for trying to break up the march.
 
The activists walked for about 250 meters along Prospekt Peremohy (Victory Avenue) in the capital, Kyiv, while Orthodox Christian activists nearby chanted slogans denouncing them.
 
“Ukraine is not America. Kyiv is not Sodom,” shouted one anti-gay demonstrator over a loudspeaker.
 
A church activist broke through the police cordon briefly and slapped down banners calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals before he was seized by police.
 
There is little public acceptance of homosexuality in predominantly Orthodox Ukraine, as in other former Soviet republics. On May 17, large crowds of protesters broke up gay rights rallies in Georgia and Russia.
 
The march in Kyiv lasted only 40 minutes but was considered a small victory for the former Soviet republic's gay community.
 
Gay rights activists march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.Gay rights activists march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.
x
Gay rights activists march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.
Gay rights activists march in Kyiv May 25, 2013.
A year ago, gay activists canceled plans for a rally in Kyiv, saying they had received threats of violence. One would-be organizer was beaten up by a group of men the same day.
 
Organizers hailed the march on Saturday as a breakthrough.
 
“This event will go down in the history of Ukraine as one of the key developments in the fight for equal human rights,” said Olena Semenova, one of the organizers, expressing gratitude to the police and the authorities for their actions.
 
Against all odds

The rally almost did not materialize when city authorities raised security concerns and a court issued an order to ban it.
 
But on Saturday police offered protection to the small march, held away from the city center.
 
Church activist Oksana Keresten, who protested against the rally, said: “We are trying to protect family values. We want to protect our children from homosexual propaganda. This parade popularizes homosexuality. It can influence our children for their whole life.”
 
At the end of the rally, the gay activists stepped retreated to a local film studio and climbed onto buses that drove them away, avoiding the risk of further confrontation.

Ukraine's parliament last year shelved the second reading of a bill that would have criminalized the “promotion of homosexuality”. But it has also delayed passing legislation to outlaw discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid