Just days before the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was due to host its first-ever Pride march, a city court has banned the event in what Amnesty International called a shameful about-face that tramples on human rights.
Thursday’s court hearing cited this weekend’s Kyiv Day celebrations in the city centre – which coincide with the planned Pride march on 25 May – as a reason for banning the event. For the first time ever, the Kyiv city council applied to the courts for a ban of all public events not organized by them during Kyiv Day.
In their application to the court, city authorities raised the spectre of a threat of violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists organizing the march, despite earlier police assurances that they can guarantee the protection of Pride march demonstrators.
Last year, a planned Kyiv Pride march had to be cancelled in the face of a violent threat posed by groups of extreme-right youth.