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Thousands attend gay pride march in Ukraine's capital

People take part in the annual Gay Pride parade, being protected by riot police in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Around five thousand LGBT activists and associations paraded in the center of Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KIEV — Thousands of people attended a gay pride parade in Ukraine's capital amid tight security yesterday.

A counterdemonstration by a few hundred ultranationalists resulted in scuffles with police in which two officers were injured and six people arrested, Kiev police chief Andrei Krishchenko said.

Much of downtown Kiev was cordoned off and about 5,000 police officers were on duty for the gay pride march, which has traditionally been a focal point for attacks by ultranationalists.

Kiev police spokeswoman Oksana Blishchik wrote on Facebook that about 2,500 people attended. The route of the parade was changed at the last minute in an attempt to head off clashes.

People marched in colorful costumes and with rainbow flags and placards, including one that read "Love and let love."

The ultranationalist group Right Sector had warned the day before that their supporters would ensure the parade ended in a "bloodbath."

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Kiev held its first major pride march last year after a pro-Western government that came to power after the 2014 revolution sanctioned such events.

Previous gay pride rallies in Ukraine have ended in violence. In 2015, a gay pride march was called off when right-wing activists pelted participants with smoke grenades.

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