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LGBT activists march peacefully in Ukraine; reports of arrests in Moscow during gay pride activities

ASSOCIATED PRESS

KIEV, Ukraine -- At least 50 gay rights activists have marched peacefully in the country's first gay rally despite a court ban and attempts to disrupt the event.

Participants of the Saturday's rally in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, held banners against discrimination and derogatory stereotypes of gays.

Riot police guarded the rally and prevented attempts by a dozen men to attack the activists.

While the recognition of gay rights advances in much of the West, antipathy toward homosexuals remains strong in Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

Homosexuality was a criminal offense in the Soviet Union and societal resistance to it remains strong more than two decades later.

The highly influential Orthodox Church vehemently opposes gay rights.

Meanwhile, reports are surfacing that gay activists, including Nikolai Alekseev have been arrested during marches in Moscow.

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