Violence, arrests disrupt gay-rights protest in Ukraine

Published: December 8, 2012

Six LGBT-rights protesters and several counter-protesters were reportedly arrested today in Ukraine during a gathering to celebrate International Human Rights Day.

The theme of the 100-person protest in Kiev was “Say NO to Legislative Violence against Human Rights,” which focuses on a bill before the parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) that would prohibit “gay propaganda.”

The bill would also ban the import, manufacture and distribution of products that “promote” homosexuality.  Opponents of the bill say that, because it does not define “propaganda,” it would lead to arbitrary interpretation; abuse and sanctions against the media, civil society activists and human rights defenders; censorship; and institutionalized homophobia.
Kiev protest on Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of LB.ua)

Kiev protest on Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of LB.ua)

The LB.ua website of the Left Bank weekly reported that counter-protesters sprayed tear gas in protesters’ faces and tore up protesters’ signs. It said a total of  seven people were arrested.

LGBT rights advocates said several people were beaten during the protest.

An administrative court in Kiev had rejected a request from the gay-rights group Insight for permission to hold the rally. The court said the gathering could threaten national security and public order.

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