From Athens to Sheffield, gays march with Pride

Sophie Picheta June 9, 2008
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The UK showed its support for Poland’s gay community on Saturday as the Rainbow flag flew from the British Embassy in Warsaw during the city’s Pride festival.

Saturday’s march marked the end of ‘Equality Days,’ a week-long festival with the slogan Live, Love, Be.

2,000 people took part in this year’s parade.

Warsaw police were out in force to prevent attacks by extreme right sympathisers, although the parade passed off without major incident.

Bans on Polish Pride festivals in 2004 and 2005 were found to be unlawful by Polish courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

On Saturday Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Poland, Ric Todd, raised the flag over the British Embassy building.

The Pride march passed on its way through the city. The Rainbow flag also flew in Riga last week, to mark that city’s Pride event.
“The UK remains committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas,” said Mr Todd.

“This small gesture is a symbol of the British embassy’s commitment to equality and acceptance for all.”

Szymon Niemiec, who took part in Saturday’s Pride, told

“Thank you Great Britain. I had tears in my eyes when I saw our flag in front of your embassy today.”

Pride events have also been held in other major European cities.

More than 10,000 people took to the streets in Rome for the Pride parade, which had previously been denounced as “an act of sexual exhibition” by the city’s mayor Gianni Alemanno.

In Athens, Pride festivities were disrupted by right wing sympathisers. Police had to intervene.

One of the four people married in a same-sex ceremony last Tuesday attended.

Tassos Alfieries, the Mayor of Tilos, an island with a population of less than 600, offered to perform Greece’s first gay wedding, after two men announced their intention to wed in a newspaper notice.

Lesbian and gay rights activists argue that the law does not explicitly proclaim a civil union must take place between a man and a woman.

In the UK, hundreds of revellers took to the streets of Sheffield on Saturday for the city’s most successful Pride ever.

“We were thrilled that we have been able to follow cities such as Manchester and London and host our own gay pride event in South Yorkshire,” Lisa White of the South Yorkshire Pride Committee told the Sheffield Star.

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