Britain: The LGBT community celebrates 50 years since the first Pride in London

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With faces painted in plenty of glitter and holding rainbow flags, a colorful crowd marched through the streets of London on Saturday (2/7) to celebrate 50 years since the first community march LGBT in the UK and promising that “the battle continues”.

More than a million people and about 600 organizations were expected to “attend” this event which is “the largest and most inclusive in history”, according to the organizers. It is also the first pride march organized since the start of the pandemic, due to which the previous ones were canceled in the last two years.

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The march which started from Hyde Park at noon on Saturday to reach Whitehall in the heart of London, pays tribute to the first march organized in the UK in 1972. A few hundred people then took part in that ground-breaking rally, held just five years after homosexuality was decriminalized in the UK. Activists took “incredible courage” at the time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted.

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In the five decades since then, participants in the “Pride” reached tens of thousands and the gathering, initially very political, took on a more festive tone.

Activists from the Gay Liberation Front participated in the march holding placards that read “I was there in 1972. The fight continues for LGBTI freedom in the world.”

However, according to LGBTI rights activist Peter Tatchell, some of those who participated in the first march boycotted today’s march, calling it “depoliticized and commercialized.”

“Today we are marching for those in Oslo”

Stephen Saunders, 54, who marched in just an apron and underwear, said the annual event remains “very important”. “Even today there are people who can’t march, who can’t be who they are, who are stoned or killed for it, so Pride is still very important,” he said, according to the Athens News Agency.

Mohammed Nazir, 24, a member of Rainbows Across Borders, said he was dedicating the march to those still forced to hide their sexual identity. This march “is a matter of self-affirmation, dignity and equality (…) a movement where we constantly fight for our rights,” he told the PA agency.

For London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the aim is to “defend a more open, inclusive world”. As he underlined, people of the LGBTI community are always at risk of falling victim to discrimination, prejudice and violence. “Today we are marching for those in Oslo,” he added, referring to last week’s shooting near a gay bar in the Norwegian capital that prompted the postponement of local Pride.

Today’s events were also attended by demonstrators expressing their support for Ukraine, with a banner that read: “If you defend freedom, you defend Ukraine.”

Source: News Beast

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