Hundreds took to the streets of Cuban capital Havana, in favour of LGBT rights and against homophobia, at the weekend, led by gay rights campaigner Mariela Castro.

The march followed the central streets of the city, and was led by Mariela, niece of Fidel Castro, and daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro. She is the head of Cuba’s National Sexual education Centre, which organised the march.

The demonstrators formed a long conga-dance line, carried rainbow banners and chanted: “Homophobia, no! Socialism, yes!”, reports the BBC.

Castro said she was optimistic that Cuba would eventually legalise equal marriage, however she said the first step was tackling prejudice in the country.

The country made being gay legal in 1979 and has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Before Raul Castro came to power back in 2008, no gay rights marches had been permitted in the country.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, gay people in Cuba were fired, imprisoned and sent to “re-education camps”.

Castro, was last month given the go-ahead to attend an LGBT conference in the US, where she will receive an award for her contributions to gay rights, after initially being barred from travelling within the US.

Slow moves towards equal marriage are taking place in South America, as Uruguay recently became the 12th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, which was signed into law by President Jose Mujica last week. Uruguay’s neighbour Argentina legalised equal marriage in 2010.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said that he was responsible for Cuba persecuting gay men in the 1960s and 70s, and that after the revolution in 1959, gay and lesbian people were persecuted.

The former president told Mexican newspaper La Jornada that there had been moments of “great injustice” against the gay community.