The Pride parade in the Romanian capital passed off peacefully on Saturday, with more than 1,000 police officers on the streets protecting participants.

Last year 100 people were detained for throwing stones and fireworks at police and about 400 participants in the gay rights march.

On Saturday 200 people took part in the march, among them British MEP and gay rights activist Michael Cashman.

“I want to thank the police here today, but we should be able to march and be ourselves without the police marching along,” he said, according to Reuters.

Two counter-demonstrations were held before the Pride event.

Romania joined the EU at the beginning of 2007, at which time it was required to recognise same-sex couples registered in other member states.

The country includes sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination legislation and allows those who have undergone gender reassignment to change their identity.

It was one of the last European countries to decriminalise homosexuality in 1996, and a further law banning “manifestations of homosexuality” was finally repealed in 2001.

In 2002 the age of consent was equalised at 15.

In December 2006 an EU funded poll found that just 11% of Romanians approved of same-sex marriage.