ANOTHER WEEKEND OF PRIDES

The weekend saw a burst of colourful Pride events take place in the Northern hemisphere – from Amsterdam to Brighton to Vancouver.

In the Netherlands, hundreds of thousands partied in what is said to have been the largest Pride event in Amsterdam’s history, with an estimated half a million people taking part.

The crowd took advantage of the warm weather on Saturday to line the city’s canals and watch the floating rainbow parade of over 70 ships and boats.

For the first time in the event’s history a “straight boat” was included in the flotilla. Amsterdam has long been considered the “gay capital” of Europe.

In Stockholm, a smaller but equally enthusiastic crowd of around 50 000 people took part in the city’s annual Pride parade, while around 100 000 came out onto the streets to watch the proceedings.

The participants included groups representing the police, for the first time the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and members of parliament and politicians from various political parties – including Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister. The celebration is considered the largest gay pride event in the Nordic region.

Europe’s warm weather this weekend also extended to the UK, where the popular seaside resort town of Brighton put on its annual Pride festival. Approximately 120 000 people took to the streets in the carnival style parade, which was kicked off by mayor Carol Theobald and blessed by Reverend Debbie Gaston.

The theme of “musicals” was clearly evident in the floats and costumes, with revellers celebrating shows such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Wizard of Oz.

Officials in the parade included the police, the fire department and the ambulance service. The parade climaxed in a celebration at a nearby park with live performances, a dance tent, community organisation stalls and a fun fair.

In Canada, Vancouver marked its 29th annual Pride parade with an estimated 400 000 people lining the route to watch the proceedings. Tomasz Baczkowski, one of the organisers of Warsaw’s beleaguered Pride parade, who was invited by his Canadian colleagues, was among the marchers.

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