Berlin pride parade draws nearly 1 million to celebrate LGBT rights



BERLIN, Taylan Goekalp (dpa)- Some one million people filled the streets of the German capital on Saturday for a series of events around Berlin's annual pride parade, celebrating 50 years since the Stonewall uprising that launched the LGBT rights movement.
Berlin was also marking 40 years since the city's own first pride march, known here as the Christopher Street Day or CSD parade, took place in 1979 with about 450 participants.



Parade revellers began with a slight delay around noon on Berlin's Kurfuerstendamm, the city's central shopping avenue, and set out east towards the Brandenburg Gate. 
Revellers were carrying posters with slogans such as "No sex with Nazis" and "Send the patriarchy to hell" in support of equal rights and to protest the marginalization of individuals and minorities. Rainbow flags could be spotted well beyond the parade route in the city. 
The parade kicked off with confetti thrown into the air, as people cheered and waved rainbow-coloured flags. By 3 pm (1300 GMT), organizers had counted 150,000 attendees. By the evening, they estimated some 1 million people had taken part over the course of the day.
A few LGBT activists spoke before the demonstration set out with around 100 floats in tow. 
"Imagine being a woman, but no one believes you. Imagine being a man, but a judge has to certify it," said Anastasia Biefang from the association of homosexual members of the Bundeswehr. 
Biefang became the first transgender commander in the Germany military, the Bundeswehr, in 2017.
Once at the Brandenburg Gate, a final show included music by Spice Girls' member Melanie C and German DJ Felix Jaehn. 
Around 800 police officers were charged with maintaining security throughout the day, a spokeswoman said, while the city's cleaning department had 130 employees and 60 vehicles deployed across the city to pick up any litter left behind by the demonstration. 
The theme of this year's gay pride festivities is "Stonewall 50 - Every riot starts with your voice" in commemoration of the anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969 that sparked the modern gay rights movement.
The organizers also hope to draw attention to local political demands, which include the creation of a housing and cultural centre for lesbians in Berlin and improved education on living with HIV.
Despite many improvements that have been implemented for LGBT people in Germany, such as the introduction of marriage equality, there are still many challenges, and violence against LGBT people has increased in recent years. 
In 2018, Berlin's police registered 225 homophobic attacks on individuals, compared to 171 the year before. 
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Sunday, July 28th 2019
Taylan Goekalp (dpa)
           


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