Two police hurt in attack on LGBT rally in Ukraine

Kiev
18 May 2017

Two Ukrainian policemen were hospitalised after they tried to disperse about 30 young men who attacked a rally by gay and transgender rights activists in the eastern city of Kharkiv, law enforcement officials said today. Video footage from the event released by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty showed hooded hooligans burning an LGBT rainbow flag and attacking the event's participants as well as the police outside a government building. The Kharkiv police told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that they arrested four of the assailants on Wednesday. They face up to five years in jail if convicted of using force against law enforcement officials. The incident came less than a week after Kiev hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual television extravaganza embraced by the LGBT community, held this year under the "Celebrate Diversity" motto.
Anti-homosexual sentiments still run high in Ukraine and several gay pride parades have been banned across the former Soviet republic in recent years. But larger cities such as Kiev and Kharkiv have attempted to show more tolerance by permitting various LGBT events to take place. The organisers of the Kharkiv gathering said they were attempting to draw attention to homophobia in society. (AFP)