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Prague Pride parade draws 30,000

AFP logoAFP 8/10/2019 afp.com
a group of people wearing costumes: 30,000 people braved the rain at Prague's Gay Pride march © Michal CIZEK 30,000 people braved the rain at Prague's Gay Pride march

Tens of thousands of people took part in the Prague Pride parade of the LGBT community on Saturday while a similar march in neighbouring Poland went smoothly despite fears of far-right disruption.

"We had 30,000 people according to our estimate which we arrived at after consulting the police," said Bohdana Rambouskova, spokeswoman for the week-long Prague Pride festival.

"Everything went smoothly, everything was fine except the weather -- it rained throughout the parade," she told AFP.

In 2018, the event had been attended by 40,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and supporters, according to Rambouskova.

Although the festival generally took place without a hitch, local media reported a couple of disruptions.

On Thursday, someone set fire to a rainbow flag in central Prague and fired flares at an island hosting the festival workshops and other events.

On Saturday, Prague cleaners had to wipe away oil poured onto a staircase along the march route.

In neighbouring Poland, around 2,000 people took part in a Gay Pride parade in the city of Plock, while a few hundred far-right nationalists held a counter-protest.

The peace was ensured by a heavy police presence -- a measure taken in the wake of a violent nationalist attack on an LGBT rally in the Polish city of Bialystok three weeks ago.

In conservative and Catholic Poland, which faces a general election in October, homosexuality is a hot topic, with the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party slamming gay rights as a threat to traditional values and families.

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