Thousands of revellers gather for London Pride parade

30/06/2014
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

reposted from BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-28070414

A record 30,000 people took part in the Pride parade through central London, organisers have said.

The event began in Baker Street and travelled along Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square before ending at Whitehall.

Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst was headlining the celebrations, with Sinitta and Sam Bailey also joining in.

Pride in London organisers said this year saw a "record" turnout.

This year's theme was "#freedomto", which Michael Salter, chair of Pride in London, said was open to various interpretations, with some taking it as meaning freedom to marry, while others saw it as "freedom to be out on the pitch for gay footballers".

'Amazing atmosphere'

Mr Salter added: "Conchita is an incredible example of the power of having the freedom to be oneself."

Participants were encouraged to send in "selfies" which could feature as advertisements on the Tube network, organisers said.

Mr Salter said: "We have had a record number of attendees this year, with over 30 floats and 210 groups. The atmosphere has been amazing. The rain could not dampen the spirit, and people think it has been the best Pride."

Conchita Wurst said: "Let us be proud about who we are and let us give a statement for love, respect and tolerance."

Ahead of Pride, London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "The increasing visibility of LGBT people is testament to London's status as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities.

"Recent homophobic attacks show there is more to be done. Hate crimes like this generate fear, which is why it is so important that LGBT people have the confidence to report them, knowing they will be taken seriously and that such incidents will be pursued relentlessly by the police."

London-based charity Stonewall has released the results of a poll which found that more than half of UK football fans think more needs to be done to tackle homophobic abuse in sport.

The poll was completed by 30,000 football fans in 29 countries using Forza Football phone app, with 5,000 of those from the UK.

The poll also found that people in Ireland were the most accepting of gay players, with more than 80% saying they would be comfortable if a player on their national team came out as gay, compared with 73% in the UK.


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