(Photo: UK Gay News)

The annual European gay and lesbian parade – the culmination of a five-week long celebration of gay pride – took place in the Swiss city of Zurich on Saturday.

It coincided with the 40th anniversary of the birth of the gay right movement in the United States.

The parade reportedly drew a crowd of over 50 000 people.

The festival takes place in a different European country every year in order to attract participation from people all over the continent. It first took place in London in 1993.

Festival organiser Michael Rueegg said that a “mixed crowd” attended. “Up to now, there are about 50,000 people participating in the parade, but there will be some more people coming for the festivities later today,” he told AFP.

Zurich is headed by recently elected Socialist Party mayor, Corine Mauch, who is openly lesbian. However there is still opposition to the event.

The Christian Social Union, a lobby group, called for the defence of the “Christian family model” and is launched a poster and leaflet campaign during EuroPride.

(Photo: UK Gay News)

Rueegg said that he had seen some people handing out their leaflets, but noted that the parade had taken place amid a festive mood.

“I saw a few straight couples and I went to ask them why they were here, and they found my questions very absurd. They said: ‘why shouldn’t we be here, it’s where the party is,'” said Rueegg.

EuroPride will take place in Warsaw next year.

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