Professional footballers and ministers were among the tens of thousands to take to the streets and canals of Amsterdam to celebrate Pride today, and to call for LGBT rights in Russia.

Former Dutch national team, and Ipswich Town footballer Martjin Reuser was among other high-profile Dutch footballers to join in the parade.

For the first time players took to a boat for the parade, organised by the Dutch FA, the KNVB, which floated along Amsterdam’s canals in support of acceptance of gay people in professional football.

“The football world is a macho world where it is easy to make jokes, especially about gays,” former Dutch international Pierre van Hooijdonk told AFP.

“I never came across any gays in my team and I don’t know any either, but we are here today to say OK, if you are (gay) we’ll support you, we won’t discriminate,” he said.

“It goes slowly but we have to start at some point, right?”

Defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem were also among attendees.

Many of the slogans and discussions were focused on the repeated blows to LGBT rights in Russia that have occurred this year. Labour party members, including Mr Dijsselbloem wore “Gay Pride for Russia” shirts.

“Things are going in the wrong direction there with gay rights,” he said.

In July, four Dutch nationals were questioned by police in Russia for allegedly coming into conflict with the country’s newly-established “gay propaganda” laws.

The group were making a film about LGBT rights in Murmansk, northern Russia. Their footage was confiscated by officers.

In June, Russia passed a federal law imposing heavy fines for anyone providing LGBT information to those below the age of 18.