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Rainbow weekend: Pride events big and small across Europe

Rainbow weekend: Pride events big and small across Europe

Pride events around Europe on Saturday – big and small – brought a rainbow celebration of LGBTQ rights into focus. 

From a huge carnival in London with an estimated one million people attending, to a tiny event in the Arctic village of Inari, here’s how Europe marked a busy Pride weekend. 

Revelers in the UK capital marked 50 years of Pride. 

A vibrant crowd turned out to either take part in or watch the festivities, forming a spectacle of rainbow flags, glitter and sequins.

After two years of cancellations because of the coronavirus pandemic, the parade came a half-century after London’s first march to celebrate Pride in 1972.

Saturday’s procession took on a similar route to the original, starting outside Hyde Park and touring the streets towards Westminster. It was to be followed by a concert in Trafalgar Square.

Chris Joell-Deshields, the director of organizers Pride in London, said “momentous” rights and freedoms had been earned since the inaugural event, “but there is more to be done”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed a “beautiful day” of “unity, visibility, equality and solidarity” as he joined in the celebrations.

More than 600 LGBTQ groups were expected to take part in the march, which was headed by members of the Gay Liberation Front from the 1972 protest.

More Pride events around Europe

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin joined tens of thousands of people in the capital Helsinki for the annual Pride parade. 

She told journalists that a new trans rights law would be put before parliament in the autumn session, which would tackle issues like giving 15 year-olds the right to change their gender, and removing finally a requirement for trans people to be sterilised before they can legally change their gender. 

Marin, who described growing up in a ‘rainbow household’ with her mother and her mother’s female partner, has been a patron of Helsinki Pride for several years. 

There were some security concerns after an attack last weekend ahead of Oslo Pride, and after far-right protesters, some adorned with swastikas, disrupted a drag queen story time event at Helsinki’s Oodi Public Library on Friday. 

In Finnish Lapland dozens of people took part in a Pride event in the village of Inari far north of the Arctic Circle. Many of the participants were wearing traditional Sámi clothing. Sámi are the EU’s only indigenous people, with traditional homeland areas in northern Finland, Sweden and Norway. 

There were also Pride events taking place on Saturday in France and Germany. 

Tens of thousands of people, many of them young, took part in the LGBT+ Pride march in the streets of Toulouse, Marseille and Saint-Etienne as temperatures soared. 

In Toulouse, more than 10,000 participants danced and applauded on the Capitole square as speakers urged them to “enjoy without hindrance” and to fight against “shame, ignorance, violence.”

While in Cologne thousands of people joined the Pride events in the city, which first started in the early 1990s.

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