Gay pride parade in Paris continued to the delight of participants after last year’s pandemic did not mean that such gather
ROME – Police in protective gear blocked streets on Saturday to try to thwart gay pride participants in Istanbul, while thousands of people came out rejoicing in Paris and elsewhere in Europe after the pandemic was lifted – although failures against LGBT rights softened part of the celebration air.
Authorities have banned pride events in Istanbul since 2015, citing public safety and, more recently, restrictions on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cumhuriyet newspaper said at least 25 people had been detained.
The pandemic concerns the forced cancellation of the Pride in Lisbon and the postponement of the London March, which was usually heavily attended.
In Berlin, protesters took three routes to the central Alexanderplatz square in a format aimed at avoiding large gatherings during the pandemic and reflecting the diversity of the LGBT community.
In Italy, the celebrants of pride gathered in Rome and Milan.
With a proposed law to combat hate crimes against LGBTQ people who have been stuck in the Italian Senate for months, Vatican and right-wing political leaders are lobbying to remove some provisions, citing fears that the law will stifle freedom of expression.
New Hungarian law prohibits the sharing of content about homosexuality or gender reassignment by persons under the age of 18 in sex education programs, films or commercials. The European Union government says the law aims to protect children and insists it is not aimed at homosexuals. The critic says the law links homosexuality to pedophilia.
Camille Fois, 25, traveled to Paris from the alpine city of Annency to take part in her first Pride March. Speaking about Hungarian law, she expressed concerns shared by many advocates of rights in the European Union.
“It can happen to us very quickly. It’s not that far “, she dared.
The general mood among the tens of thousands of participants in the Paris event was a celebration after almost a year and a half of pandemic-triggered restrictions on gatherings and socializing.
Singing along to Katy Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl,” people danced on one of the subway trains that transported them to the gathering place. With half of the French adults now having at least one vaccine sting, many no longer felt the need for face masks and partying parties.
“It was hard to be locked up,” said Georges Gregoire, 33, who came with his partner. “I wanted to have fun.” The two of them were traveling from Lille. Gregoire, a nurse student, moved to France from Haiti, where, he said, he was so miserable and outcast as a homosexual that he considered suicide.
Salv, who did not want to give his full name because he did not want it to be widely known to be HIV positive, marched with a sign that read: “40 years of waiting for the vaccine.” He said he was optimistic that research spilled into coronavirus vaccines would increase the chances of an HIV vaccine.
Many participants in Paris expressed alarm over the abolition of rights in Hungary and Poland, two EU countries led by right-wing governments.
“If European leaders tolerate this, what will stop them from tolerating it at home?” Said Mornia Paumelle-Pichon, a 26-year-old illustrator.
John Leicester reported from Paris. AP reports Andrew Wilk of Istanbul and Geir Moulsen of Berlin contributed to this report.