A past SÃ£o Paulo Pride
Pride season is underway in many countries around the world, with two notable events taking place this past weekend.
On Sunday, millions took to the streets of SÃ£o Paulo in Brazil to celebrate the biggest Pride festival on the planet.
The annual parade, which began in 1997, draws a throng of around three million people. It stretches over four kilometres along Paulista Avenue in the city centre.
The event also saw the opening of the Chilli Pepper Single Hotel in the city’s vibrant gay district. Exclusively for gay men, it offers 100 small rooms, five suites, two pools, a sauna, a bar and a cinema. Guests can book rooms for a six hour period or longer.
On Saturday, the town of Split, Croatia’s second largest city, held its Pride parade despite threats of violence from radical rightwing groups.
Last year’s event had to be cancelled after protestors threw rocks and other objects at participants. The police were slammed at the time by Amnesty International for not giving the march appropriate support.
Croatia is due to become part of the European Union next year and the success and safety of the event was seen as an important gauge of the country’s commitment to human rights.
Around 500 people, including some government ministers, took part in the parade and held up signs that proclaimed “Gay is OK” and “We are all equal”.
According to the Associated Press, the participants were guarded by 900 police, a water cannon and a police helicopter flying overhead.
While 40 people were briefly detained there were no incidents or attacks on the marchers.
“People should have the freedom and right to be what they want. And no one should persecute, attack, beat and discriminate them just because of what they want to be,” said Vesna Pusic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Split’s Mayor Å½eljko Kerum, however, was opposed to increasing security for the event and insisted that Pride was not welcome in the Mediterranean city.
“Security forces were strong and such police engagement in fact represents an unreasonable spending of money,” he was quoted as saying by b92.net.
“The Split residents have, by ignoring the parade, shown what they think about it, that they are not interested, that they do not want it in their town and that it is not welcome in Split.”
Last month, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic announced that his government is planning to introduce legislation to legalise same-sex relationships.