More than 8,000 people attended the LGBTQ celebration Sunday in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Last year, 5,000 attended, so this year's turnout shows a remarkable rise in participation.
There were also fewer security incidents. Dozens of anti-LGBTQ protesters were arrested in 2018. Although there was still a counterdemonstration this year from far-right groups, only nine people were detained, reports the BBC.
The newly elected president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has pledged to promote LGBTQ acceptance in the country. Before the event, Zelenskiy’s administration urged members of law enforcement to protect the Pride participants.
They listened. Judith Gough, the British ambassador to Ukraine, was one of several diplomats present for Pride who praised the presence of police and the National Guard. "Thank you to the police and other law enforcement agencies for protecting today's Pride event,” Gough tweeted.
While LGBTQ people still encounter significant societal prejudice and discrimination in Ukraine, polls show that attitudes are shifting: A 2017 study indicated that 56 percent of the country believe gay and bi people deserve equality, which is a dramatic upturn from previous years.
A participant (center) holds a placard reading "There is a family, there is Ukraine" during the annual Gay Pride parade Sunday in Kiev. The marchers, waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags and wearing colourful costumes, marched through the center of the capital as thousands of police and National Guard troops stood by to ensure order.