Hundreds attend tightly-policed gay pride march in central Kiev

The Gay Pride parade in Kiev gathered some 700 activists on June 12, 2016 (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)
More than 700 gay rights activists marched through central Kiev on Sunday, prompting an unprecedented security operation in the ex-Soviet country where homophobia remains widespread.
Sunday\’s march was the third such gay pride rally in Ukraine but the first ever to be held in the centre of the capital Kiev.
Several thousand police and National Guard officers lined the route during the event, which lasted about 20 minutes.
The previous year\’s gay pride event — held far from the centre — lasted only a few minutes before stone-throwing nationalist protesters clashed with the participants and at least 10 people were injured.
In 2013 a small march on the outskirts of Kiev went ahead peacefully.
At Sunday\’s event, participants held "KyivPride" placards and banners bearing the slogan "LGBT rights are human rights."
Some carried rainbow flags and Ukrainian national flags and chanted "Human rights come first!"
A number of Ukrainian politicians took part, including two from President Petro Poroshenko\’s parliamentary bloc.
Before the march began, a group of five protesters held up a placard which read; "Kiev opposes propaganda of sodomy, I am against gay pride in Ukraine," but police surrounded them and moved them away from the marchers.
At the end of the peaceful march, some activists sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
Homosexuality was illegal in the USSR and homophobia is still rampant in Ukraine where the Orthodox Church has a strong influence.
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