Despite last year’s bomb threats, London plans to again send out a message to the world through its annual Gay Pride that it is a safe place for gay men and women to live or to visit.

This year’s event, with the massive parade through some of the capital’s best known streets on Saturday July 5, is to be bigger and better than ever, Pride London chair Paul Birrell promised on Thursday.

“Following the enormous success of the Pride events in June 2007, and all the feedback we received from people who took part, our aim is to create an even bigger and better event for 2008,” he said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Mayor of London to develop this free, world-class event, with the aim of attracting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community from London, across the UK and internationally.”

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who is seeking re-election in May, described Pride London as “a key event for London” as a great world city.

“The capital is home to the largest, most diverse lesbian and gay population in Europe and this event, attended by people of all sexualities, sends out a clear signal that London welcomes and is a safe place for lesbians and gay men to live in and visit,” the Mayor said.

Mr. Birrell said that Pride Day itself will feature an even bigger parade, with float sponsors linking up with LGBT groups and charities to support them.

The parade will be through the West End and will be followed by the massive ‘free event’ in Trafalgar Square, as well as events in Leicester Square and Soho.

In 2007, despite being the target of failed bombings days earlier, London succesfully celebrated gay Pride. Two nail-packed car bombs, which failed to detonate, had earlier been discovered along the parade route. It was unclear if the bombs were specifically targeted at the gay community.

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