Amsterdam gay pride parade draws record crowdsAugust 2nd, 2009 - 12:26 am ICT by IANS
Amsterdam, Aug 1 (DPA) Record crowds gathered here Saturday to watch the annual gay pride parade pass by boat on the city’s waterways.
It is estimated that around 560,000 people from around the world looked on as the 80 boats and their occupants, decked out for the event, as they cruised the Amstel river and the Prinsengracht, one of the city’s main canals. Organizers and police say that is about 60,000 more than in 2008.
Many of the displays decried persecution of gay people in other countries and continuing discrimination against gays in Western society. For the first time, homosexual members of the Dutch military and police forces could march in uniform, to major applause.
Other firsts included a boat with well-known gay athletes and one sponsored by the governing Christian Democratic party.
Amsterdam has gained a reputation as the world’s gay capital in recent years. Nonetheless, that reputation has been marred by continuing isolated attacks, most recently when one of the event’s organisers was attacked by a group of men in the middle of a street.
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