KIEV, Ukraine, May 21 (UPI) -- Amnesty International Monday criticized the Kiev, Ukraine, police for canceling the city's first gay pride parade citing safety concerns.
Police shut down the parade Sunday 30 minutes before it was due to start because, they said, about 500 ultraconservative protesters were en route to the parade's rally point, Amnesty International said in a release.
"It has been clear from the start that the Kiev police department did not want this march to go ahead. Their reluctance to commit to the event and to put adequate security measures in place to protect demonstrators left organizers fearing for their safety," said Max Tucker, Ukraine campaigner at Amnesty International.
A senior police official, whose name was not reported, had told parade organizers he would not put officers in harm's way for the event, Amnesty International said.
"The Kiev authorities and police must work harder to ensure next year pride participants can feel confident they will be protected," said Tucker.
A group of about a dozen youths beat up and used tear gas on two march participants after the evacuation of the parade route, the release said.