Hundreds of thousands lined Paseo del Prado in the Spanish capital of Madrid on Saturday evening for the gay pride parade that comprised more than 50 organizations and 30 floats.
The parade is a culmination of festivities held over five days since the kickoff on Wednesday night which included an open air appearance by Conchita Wurst, the bearded Austrian drag queen who won the Eurovision song contest in May.
Billing the event as the biggest pride parade in Europe, COGAM and FELGTB, the two LGBT organizations behind Madrid Pride, told Publico.es they hope for a turnout of 1 million people.
Organizers have dedicated the parade to victims of discrimination in some 80 countries where gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are punished, and in 10 countries by death.
‘It is time to speak up for all those who cannot, so they can see that they are not alone in suffering, that we are fighting for their freedoms and for our own and that LGBT human rights are inalienable,’ Boti G. Rodrigo, leader of FELGTB, was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
The organizers also warned in their rally speech against the threat of discrimination posed by far-right groups which have gained strength in some European countries.
It highlighted European Union countries, such as Slovakia, Hungary or Croatia, amending its constitution to prevent gay marriage; Russia for legislating against human rights; and the African continent in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia for its laws against LGBT people and the pervasiveness of ‘corrective rape’ against lesbian and bisexual women.
Spain became the third country in the European Union to legalize gay marriage in 2005, after the Netherlands and Belgium.
Madrid is slated to host the next World Pride in 2017.