Tel Aviv Pride kicked off today with music and speeches, and attracted thousands of revellers as the annual parade passed through the city, with followers waving rainbow flags, and enjoying the summer weather.

Thousands gathered in the city’s Gan Meir park this morning for the beginning of the parade through the city, which kicked of at 1pm, with organisers estimating that it had attracted over 100,000, beating last year’s attendance.

This year’s pride marks the 20th anniversary of the first Tel Aviv Pride, and organisers are expecting 20,000 foreign visitors to the city over coming weeks.

This morning’s music performances and speeches attracted some noteworthy audience members, with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, openly gay Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On and Hadash MK Dov Henin.

Mayor Huidai made a speech saying he was “proud that Tel Aviv is the most gay-friendly city in the world.” Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz was also campaigning for the gay vote, as he is Huidai’s opponent for the mayor’s seat.

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro was also in attendance for the speeches, and wore a Pride t-shirt for the occasion. He told the crowd that President Obama sent his “warm greetings”.

Although the main parade ended at 3pm with a beach party at Gordon Beach, pride parties are scheduled for the whole weekend, across the city.

The first couple to marry in France also took to Tel Aviv for their honeymoon, following their wedding ceremony last week which attracted international media attention.

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