Thousands of people gathered in Kiev for the gay pride parade on Sunday. A counter-protest of about 200 people was held nearby.

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Thousands of people participated in the gay pride parade in Kiev on Sunday. Politicians and diplomats came together and joined the marchers, who were holding signs promoting the LGBTQ community. The parade was incident-free until about 200 protesters appeared in front of the marchers and began to yell and burn rainbow flags. Scuffles even broke out between the protesters and police. Six people were arrested. “God punishes the sinners of Sodom,” said Pastor Kostyantyn, one of the protesters.

“We’ve already witnessed enough damnation,” continued Kostyantyn. “It’s inconceivable that the police and the homosexuals are on the same side.” Another person explained why she decided to join the protest: “I think that the private things need to remain private. They can sleep with whomever they want when they are at home but I don’t want my son to see these the acts of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s my right to tell my boy that this isn’t normal.”

Parade in Kiev, yesterday

Parade in Kiev, yesterday Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Despite the counter-protest, the marchers expressed optimism about the community’s situation in the country. “We’re becoming part of society just like in most European Union countries,” one marcher told Reuters. “The situation is considerably different from the treatment that the community members are receiving in neighboring Russia.”

The Ukrainian government has increased its support for the community since the pro-Western government came to power about three years ago. The government even passed a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation at the workplace.