Ukraine: Pro- and anti-gay protests likely to clash May 25

Thugs beat gay activist in Ukraine (Photo courtesy of Reuters)
Thugs beat gay activist in Ukraine in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

Global Voices suggests that clashes between anti- and pro-gay protesters in Ukraine are likely once again if a renewed attempt to hold a gay pride parade proceeds as planned on May 25:

An attempt to hold Ukraine’s first gay pride parade is meeting resistance from a member of the country’s far-right All-Ukranian Union “Freedom” party who is organizing anti-equality events to coincide with the march on May 25, 2013.

A previous attempt to organize a gay pride parade failed in May 2012, when the event was cancelled shortly before it was to begin and one of its organizers, Svyatoslav Sheremet, was beaten by a group of masked men. Judging from the online reactions that began to appear as soon as the upcoming Equality March was announced in the Ukrainian media at the end of April, things may not go very smoothly this year as well.

On Facebook, the pro-Equality March event, created on April 30, has slightly over 120 users who have signed up to attend, whereas one of the anti-March events, created on May 10 by a member of one of the parliamentary opposition parties, already has 195 potential attendees.

The Ukraine parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, is considering a ban on “gay propaganda.” A bill that would provide for prison sentences of three to five years for people convicted of violating such a ban won preliminary approval last October.

For more information, read the full article, including many comments pro and con, on Global Voices: “Ukraine’s Freedom Party Crusades Against Gay Pride Parade.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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