Ukraine: Police protect transgender rights march

Transgender rights activists were able to hold a march on November 23 in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. Police officers successfully protected the event, known as Trans March, allowing up to one hundred activists to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We believe that the actions taken by Amnesty activists as a result of an Amnesty Urgent Action as well as advocacy by Amnesty Ukraine contributed significantly towards ensuring the protection of the 2019 Trans March. Organizers of the Trans March have thanked activists for their support.

The successful protection of the Trans March comes in striking contrast to a similar event in 2018, when police failed to protect participants, did not take action against members of violent groups who attacked the march, and instead forced transgender rights activists into a nearby metro station effectively terminating their peaceful assembly.

This year the Trans March began at Mykhailivska Square in central Kyiv with a minute of silence and followed with speeches by transgender rights activists. The participants of the Trans March were protected by a police cordon from members of groups openly advocating hatred and discrimination, who had assembled nearby. The police successfully curbed at least one attempt to breach the cordon.

Twenty minutes after the beginning of the gathering, transgender rights activists proceeded to march through the central streets of Kyiv. The marchers’ column was protected by dozens of police officers. There were also dozens of police officers patrolling nearby streets and areas from which the marchers could be potentially attacked, including on their way back from the event. The march ended at Poshtova Square and all participants were able to safely leave the area using a nearby metro station.