Ukraine: War veterans join biggest gay pride march

KIEV - War veterans in fatigues joined more than 8,000 people marching in Kiev’s Gay Pride parade amid tight security on Sunday, the biggest-ever annual celebration of diversity in ex-Soviet Ukraine. The participants, waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags and sporting colorful costumes, marched through the center of the capital as far-right and Orthodox activists sought to disrupt the event.

The marchers were joined by foreign ambassadors and politicians as thousands of police and National Guard troops stood by to ensure order. For the first time, several dozen Ukrainian veterans of war with Russia-backed separatists in the east walked in a separate column — some in fatigues.

“Freedom is our religion” and “We all look the same from space,” read some of the banners held up by the march participants.

Some 1,000 far-right and Orthodox activists, who were kept away from the marchers, held up anti-gay banners and shouted “Shame!” as the procession began. The event was the first “March of Equality” to take place since Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian without previous political experience, took over as president in May.

Zelensky’s office urged law enforcement agencies to ensure order. “Every citizen should feel safe and should not be subjected to violence,” it said in a post on Facebook early Sunday. Read more via AFP