EU-Supported Dialogue Platform Works to Keep the Peace at Odessa Pride

Odessa, a seaside city on Ukraine’s southern Black Sea Coast, will hold its annual Pride Festival on August 17. Pride celebrates LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people and culture. The first pride festival in Odessa was held in 2016. This Wednesday, proponents and opponents of the festival met to discuss ways to ensure next Friday’s celebration will be peaceful. The meeting was held within the framework of an initiative organized by the Governor of the Odessa region, Maksym Stepanov, with support from the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Ukraine and the National Police of Ukraine (NPU).

Titled “Dialogue Platform,” the meeting brought together people with opposing viewpoints to encourage dialogue and understanding. The platform was started after the 2014 Odessa clashes between Euromaidan and anti-Maidan protestors. The Dialogue Platform “reflects international best practices in minimizing the risk of violence before mass events and protecting the right to free assembly,” according to EU Neighbors.

“Odesa Pride is an example of the kind of event when groups with radically different opinions will be out on the street expressing their point of view,” said Paul Kirwan, EUAM Regional Coordinator in Odessa. “The job of the law enforcement authorities on the day will be to protect the right to have one’s voice heard, as well as ensure that differences in opinion are expressed peacefully.”

The Dialogue Platform also provided an opportunity for the Odessa’s NPU Commander to share information about the NPU’s plans for Pride. EUAM experts also discussed how Pride events have been successfully managed in EU countries.

The event was attended by the Gay Alliance Ukraine, who are organizing Odessa Pride, the NGO Liga, an LGBT rights organization, as well as representatives of right-wing civil society organizations.


Source: EU Neighbors

By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: NBC News

10 August 2018 18:46