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"We Are All Human". KyivPride 2019 (PHOTOS)
23 June, 2019
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Participants of the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019 Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

The March for Equality, KyivPride, took place in Kyiv. The main theme this year was "Freedom. Unity. Struggle", and the main slogan " Our tradition is freedom! ".

"LGBT rights in Ukraine are constantly violated. We have to defend our rights every day - that’s why we came here today. We are all human," one of the participants told Hromadske.

Some participants came with families, and they stressed that they were proud of one another in their families.

"We need to talk about our rights. We are all equal, we all deserve it. We must be human," said another participant of Pride.

LGBTQ activist Zoryan Kis (right) with his father, Roman at the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

This year there was no drag queen platform. Hromadske was told that the truck driver left the scene after enduring some threats before the march. Participants of the costume part of the March had to walk on foot.

"The driver was threatened, so he just drove off. If they promised to set fire to the truck, then it's scary," one of the attendees said.

"The platform was ordered in advance. But our opponents threatened to burn the truck. [The driver] just left. Taking all the equipment and everything that was in there. We are here to show that we are not scary – we are here for peace," added another participant of KyivPride.

A drag queen at the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

At the very beginning, the opponents of the March for Equality broke into the column. Police pushed one of the attackers away. Later the Kyiv police department reported arrests of nine people who planned a provocation on the day of the event.

Besides, opponents of the KyivPride planned to throw excrements at participants of the March of Equality. Three people were detained.

Journalist Vlad Holovko, who came as a participant, got an egg in the eye during the march.

Law enforcers at the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

Over 30 Ukrainian troops marched as a column. It was the first ever military column at KyivPride.

"They came to support equality for all people," said one of the participants of the march, Donbas battalion volunteer, Viktor Pylypenko.

In response to the question what it was like to be gay in the army, he noted that"it was uncomfortable because there were a lot of homophobes."

READ MORE: How Ukraine Marked Pride 2018 (PHOTOS)

"It is because of the homophobes, in particular, the homophobic commanders, that these people cannot come out. These people are the same, but, unfortunately, they have to live a secret life. This is very unfortunate because they fight for the freedom of the people, including for our rights," he added.

Pylypenko has had to face discrimination online where he was called "fa***t" by people who call themselves nationalists, but who never went to war.

Participants of the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also invited to join the march, but he never responded to the invitation, said Anna Sharygina, organizer of KyivPride. Meanwhile, a former member of the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms joined the March for Equality, noting that "Ukraine is ready to defend the rights [of its citizens]."

"It is very important that pluralism and different points of view are defended in democracy. As in previous years, and this year, the police are prepared to defend KyivPride. I am proud of how ready Ukraine is to defend its rights. There are diplomats from other countries, Kyiv city authorities, and representatives from the Ministry of Health here," Harms said.

Participants of the March for Equality KyivPride in Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

According to the organizers, the event was attended by more than 8,000 people. At the same time, the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Serhii Yarovyi said that there were 3,000 people at the march. The National Police did not announce the exact number of law enforcers involved, only stating that there was a "sufficient" number of police officers and national guards.

Earlier, on June 19, attacks on KyivPride visitors were registered: people were kicked, had gas sprayed. Neither President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, nor Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klychko responded to the attack, according to the organizers of KyivPride.

Among the participants in the KyivPride March for Equality, there were people with disabilities, Kyiv, June 23, 2019
Photo: Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

KyivPride is a Ukrainian non-governmental organization, the goal of which is to promote full respect of human rights for LGBT+ community in Ukraine, and to build respect for these rights in society by increasing the visibility and participation of LGBT+ in social processes. In addition to other activities throughout the year, KyivPride organizes an annual event called KyivPride Week.