KIEV (Reuters) - Several dozen unknown assailants attacked a gay pride march in Kiev on Saturday, throwing flares and wounding two policemen, a Reuters witness reported.
On Friday the organisers for ‘KyivPride2015’ said the march along the Dnipro river would go ahead despite warnings from city mayor Vitaly Klitschko, who advised the event be cancelled because of a threat of violence from far-right groups.
Despite the presence of several hundred police in riot gear, the march of around 150 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender) supporters carrying rainbow banners and placards came under attack and 25-30 “hooligans” were arrested, parliament member Serhiy Leshchenko said on Twitter.
Leshchenko said police had prevented any direct clashes between participants in the march and the attackers.
Ukrainian authorities have increased their support for LGBT rights since a new pro-European government came to power after last year’s ‘Maidan’ street protests; but critics say homophobic attitudes remain widespread.
Reporting by Sergiy Takhmazov; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Ralph Boulton