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Ukraine holds largest gay pride event to date in Kiev

A drag queen poses in front of police

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EPA

Thousands have marched through the Ukrainian capital for its annual gay pride event, the largest and most peaceful the country has seen.

Ukrainian politicians joined the celebration in Kiev, with organisers putting the number of attendees at 8,000 – up from 5,000 last year.

However, there was tight security as far-right activists staged a counter-demonstration.

Despite a few scuffles, there were only nine arrests before the event.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who took office last month, has made clear his intention to promote tolerance in a country where the LGBT community is often under attack.

A couple at Kiev Pride

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AFP

Participants hold a flag at Kiev Pride

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Getty Images

“Our desire is to convey to a majority of people that LGBT is normality,” Eduard, a 17-year-old tattoo artist, told Reuters news agency.

“I am taking part for the fifth time. Ukraine is making significant progress compared to previous years, security and organisation are much better.”

Last year, 56 members of nationalist groups were arrested for aiming to disrupt the march beforehand.

An anti-LGBT campaigner

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Getty Images

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A far-right anti-LGBT protester holds a banner at the event

An anti-LGBT campaigner is apprehended

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AFP

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Police remove a man attempting to disrupt the parade

A couple kiss at Kiev Pride

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Reuters

Attendees at Kiev Pride

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Getty Images

Participants at Kiev Pride

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AFP

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Ukraine holds largest gay pride event to date in Kiev

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