Hundreds of thousands of people marched on Saturday in Madrid in a demonstration of gay pride under tight security measures, in which 52 floats spread the festivities around the Spanish capital.
The parade was led by representatives of all the major Spanish political parties, from left to right, who carried a long strip that read “For LGBTI rights around the world.”
Behind them came a compact human mass, with people adorned with the colors of rainbow pain and dancing to the sound of music. The march comprised several groups from other countries, including the United States and Britain, and groups as diverse as rural lesbians or gay and lesbian police.
Jesus Generelo, president of the Spanish federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTI) groups, said: “For all people in persecuted countries, we have to celebrate and make our pride visible,” said Jesus Generelo, Trans and intersex) at the end of the parade.
Four activists read a manifesto calling on the European Union to help spread LGBTI rights around the world, with particular emphasis on Chechnya, Russia and other countries that discriminate, criminalize or torture homosexual persons. It also called for the World Health Organization to end the categorization of transgender identity as a mental illness.
The huge outdoor gathering was the highlight of the 10th Gay Pride Festival 2017, which ends on Sunday. It was held in London in 2012, in Toronto in 2014 and will be in New York in 2019.
Although Spanish police denied any indications of possible terrorist attacks, authorities cut traffic in Madrid on Saturday, banned heavy trucks and deployed 3,500 agents to the city center.
Spain has become one of the most progressive countries in terms of LGBTI community rights, having been one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage and same-sex marriage in 2005.
Parliament is drafting a new law to ensure that all government departments remove any obstacles and ensure the equality of LGBTI people.