March of Equality held in Odesa (updated)

About 60 activists have taken part in the March of Equality in Odesa in the morning of August 13.

The participants were carrying the posters "LGBT Rights = Human Rights", "Love Has No Gender", "OdesaPride For Free City", "Xenophobia Kills" and others. They also chanted slogans "Equal rights for all", "Gays are okay", “Rebel, Love, Do Not Give Up Your Right", “Love Is Above All", the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent reports.

"You are making history today. There will be more activists in a few years thanks to you," activist Zorian Kis said.

According to BBC Ukraine, there was an unsuccessful attempt to start a fight during the march when about 20 young people had run from the side lane. The police stopped them.

As reported by the Main Department of the National Police in Odesa region, aggressive people tried to break through police cordon after the march was over.

"Police prevented an attempt of mass disturbances," reads the statement of the National Police.

The law enforcers detained 20 people, using batons.

Twenty people, who behaved aggressively, were taken to the police station to establish their identity and conduct preventive conversations with them," the statement reads.

The participants were brought to the march and taken away after the march by bus.

You can view the Human Rights Information Centre’s video stream here.

August 11, the Odesa District Administrative Court banned holding of the March of Equality in the city. The claim to ban the event was submitted to the court by the executive committee of the Odesa City Council after it had received a corresponding letter from the National Police department in Odesa. The court noted that such a decision was made due to the high probability of confrontation and conflict, during which crimes could be committed.

Washington-based Freedom House human rights organization condemned banning of public events in Odesa on 13 August. The organization believes that such a ban restricts the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and notices that the wish of the opponents to hold their own actions simultaneously with the March of Equality or to prevent its conduct cannot be grounds for banning the march.

After the court’s ban, the organizers of the March of Equality filed a second application for holding the event. The Odesa City Council did not file a new lawsuit to ban the march.

As a reminder, the March of Equality is the march for human rights, including for the right to peaceful assembly and against LGBT discrimination.

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