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Kyiv refuses Pride march in metro, citing security concerns

Anti-LGBTQ violence hits 'new high': EU report
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Kyiv’s city hall on Monday refused permission for an LGBT+ Pride event in the city’s metro, citing security concerns, after organisers announced plans to hold a march there this month.

Ukraine’s capital has not hosted an LGBT+ pride event since Russia invaded the country on February 24, 2022.

Last year’s event was held in the British city of Liverpool, which also hosted the Eurovision Song Contest there in place of Ukraine.

The latest announcement came shortly after the Kyiv Pride organisers announced registration for an “Equality March” involving up to 500 people in the subway network, scheduled for June 16.

Kyiv’s city hall said in a statement that it would not approve the event in the metro “for security reasons”, asking the organisers to find another location.

“In order not to endanger the participants and passengers, and to avoid possible provocations, the city authorities cannot allow the Equality March to take place in the metro,” it said.

The city’s first deputy mayor, Mykola Povoroznyk, was quoted as saying that it was important to hold events linked to human rights and equality in wartime but that the metro was a “dual-use” system and critical infrastructure.

Metro stations are used as shelters during air raid alerts.

The march organisers said the idea to hold the parade in the metro was inspired by a similar event in the war-torn eastern city of Kharkiv in 2022.

They said that they could go ahead without permission from the city or the metro, but wanted “dialogue with the authorities”.

A spokesperson for the Kyiv Pride organisers on May 30 told UNIAN news agency that they were in contact with Kyiv authorities and “agreeing the format of the event”, adding that they had informed officials of the plan to hold it in the metro.

Opinion polls indicate public acceptance of LGBT+ rights has increased in Ukraine during the war, with social media revealing openly gay soldiers serving in the forces.

Surveys conducted by Ukraine’s National Democratic Institute found that support for legal equality for LGBTQ people increased from 54 percent in August 2022 to 72 percent in November 2023.

However the February release of a Ukrainian feature film about an ordinary family learning to tolerate an openly gay lodger prompted ultra-nationalist activists to picket screenings in Kyiv and Kharkiv.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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