Several thousand people participating in parade organized by LGBT activists in downtown Kyiv
KYIV. June 17 (Interfax) - Activists from the LGBT community have gathered in downtown Kyiv, where the so-called Equality March was due to begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
The start of the event was delayed for technical reasons and the procession began one hour later, an Interfax correspondent said. Participants formed a column for the March and started moving but had to stop almost immediately. The procession finally started at 10 o'clock prompt, the correspondent said.
Several thousand people are participating in the event. And people continue to arrive. Organizers earlier submitted an application for an event with up to 5,000 participants.
Several Ukrainian members of parliament and a few public figures joined the procession, as did European Parliament member Rebecca Harms, Minister of State for Europe at Germany's Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth and German Ambassador to Ukraine Ernst Reichel.
Before the Equality March began, about ten people opposing the parade ran out in front of the column trying to obstruct the procession. Law enforcers intervened to lead them out of the cordons installed along the route of the parade.
Besides, about 1,000 opponents gathered behind barriers near the National Opera building. The opponents are speaking out for preserving traditional Christian values. They are holding banners with quotations from the Holy Bible and carrying wooden crosses. This crowd of people is noisy and behaving quite aggressively. Law enforcement troops in protective suits are standing closely in two rows to make a separation line between the opponents of the Equality March and its participants.
Currently, police is keeping the situation under control. A row of mounted police is marching in front of the authorized procession.
The Kyiv police revealed earlier that about 5,000 law enforcement troops would maintain law and order during the Equality March in the city center.