On 8 August, proponents and opponents of the planned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) march – scheduled to take place in Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa on 17 August – met for discussions. The meeting took place as part of an initiative organised by the Governor of the Odesa region, with support from the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine and the National Police of Ukraine (NPU).
This “Dialogue Platform” successfully brought together people in Odesa who previously held opposing views, for example in advance of the commemorations of the 2014 Odesa clashes on 2 May 2014, and reflects international best practices in minimising the risk of violence before mass events and protecting the right to free assembly.
“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 Odesa. “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 provided an opportunity for the NPU Commander in Odesa to share information about the NPU’s plans for the day. EUAM experts also presented ways in which such events have been successfully managed in EU countries.
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