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Scuffles Between Police And Nationalists Break Out At Ukrainian Gay Pride Parade

Anti-LGBT nationalists tried and failed to incite violence at Kiev's Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.

Posted on June 18, 2017, at 6:43 p.m. ET

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images

Scuffles broke out between police and anti-LGBT nationalist protesters at a gay pride parade in Kiev on Sunday.

Two officers were injured in confrontations with right-wing "ultranationalists" demonstrators, hundreds of whom showed up to hassle parade attendees and burn a rainbow flag, ABC reported. Six people were arrested.

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

Despite the protests, the parade was bright, celebratory, and full of dancing — as pride parades are wont to be. It was attended by around 2,500 people, Kiev police told press.

Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

The parade was first held after a pro-Western government came to power in Ukraine, and is now in its fourth year. Such events had previously been censured by the country's pro-Russia government, which tended to align with Moscow's stance on social issues, including limiting LGBT rights.

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images

One of the groups which organized the anti-LGBT protest, Right Sector, publicly warned pride attendees and police on Saturday that they would ensure the parade was a "bloodbath." But despite the flag-burning, the group's attempt to incite violence against paraders was seemingly unsuccessful, resulting only in a fracas with police.

Anti-LGBT protesters burn rainbow flag at Kiev gay pride event

A 2015 pride parade ended in clashes and violence between attendees and anti-LGBT protesters, as nationalists threw lit flares and smoke grenades at police.

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

This year, the Kiev police increased officer numbers and surrounded the marchers, protecting them from the protesters' attempts at violence. It seems to have worked.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP
Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

The parade had a safer and more celebratory tone than in previous years, NPR reported. This was partially due to the increased police presence, but also has to do with a recent, liberal-leaning shift in Ukrainian social policy.

"This is more than just pride," one of the parade organizers, Maxim Erastavi, told NPR. "This is a big political event for so many countries in the region that is trying to escape the colonial orbit of Russia, and move back to the European family."

Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images
Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images
Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.