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Five Police Officers Injured as Anti-Gay Group Attacks Pride Parade in Ukraine

Video footage shows members of a far-right nationalist group throwing smoke bombs and tear gas at 300 gay rights marchers in Kiev.
June 6, 2015, 3:02pm
Photo by Roman Pilpey/EPA

At least nine people, including five police officers, were injured on Saturday as clashes broke out in Kiev between approximately 300 gay rights marchers and members of a far-right nationalist group.

Video footage from the Ukrainian capital shows the attackers, many of them clad in black balaclavas, throwing smoke bombs and tear gas as demonstrators march along the Dnipro River. Scuffles erupted as helmeted riot police formed a cordon to keep the violent counter-protesters away from the pride parade.

Related: Love on the Battlefield in Eastern Ukraine

"This march shows that we exist. We are fighting for equal rights that, unlike others in Ukraine, we currently lack," a 31-year-old female attendee told AFP.

Dubbed the "March of Equality," the event was only the second one of its kind in Ukraine's post-Soviet history. Members of the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) nationalist organization threatened to disrupt the protest, which was scheduled to last only 10 minutes out of security concerns, AFP reported.

Here's a fight between enraged locals & right-wingers invading their neighborhood to disrupt — Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi)June 6, 2015

On the eve of the protest, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he fully supported the marchers, but would refrain from attending the event. "I will not be taking part," he said. "But I see no grounds for someone to try and disturb it, since this is the constitutional right of every Ukrainian citizen."

Related: Photos Show Activists Being Attacked and Arrested at Gay Pride Parade in Moscow

Top photos by Roman Pilipey/EPA. Bottom photo by Sergii Kharchenko/EPA

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