‘A beacon for openness and inclusion’: 32,000 march through the capital to celebrate Pride

Tens of thousands came together in London on Saturday as part of the capital’s Pride celebrations.

A 32,000 strong parade took to the streets making its way from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, representing this years theme of #WeAreEverywhere, to demonstrate LGBTQ+ pride and solidarity.

Attendees in the colourful procession wore outfits ranging from carnival costumes to gym gear, while crowds lined the streets and a giant rainbow Pride flag was carried through central London.

The parade kicked off at midday, led by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, alongside his wife, Saadiya, as well as Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, an air quality campaigner from Lewisham.

Mr Khan said in a statement: “I’m delighted that London’s diverse LGBTQI+ communities and allies are once again joining together in the heart of our capital for our world-renowned Pride celebrations and march of solidarity. 

“Pride is one of the highlights of my year and it is an honour to have been on every march since I was first elected as Mayor in 2016.”

The event culminated in a mass gathering at Trafalgar Square where attendees enjoyed musical acts.

Marchers from the group Queers for Palestine also walked down Piccadilly holding placards accusing Israel of genocide and condemning “pinkwashing” (Picture: PA)

The celebrations were organised by the not-for-profit Pride in London, with an estimated 500 LGBTQ+ community groups and businesses taking part in the day’s entertainment.

Mr Khan said: “This incredible event is a shining light for LGBTQI+ rights and shows why our city is a beacon for openness and inclusion – a place where you are embraced and celebrated for who you are. 

“Our capital’s LGBTQI+ communities make a huge contribution to life in London.

“There is however still work to be done to achieve true equality, and as a proud ally, I’ll continue to stand side-by-side with our capital’s LGBTQI+ communities as we work to build a better London for all.”

Eight Christian protesters gathered alongside the parade holding posters criticising the march, PA Media reported. 

Images from the day show the activists standing in a fenced-off section adjacent to the parade route, holding placards which read, “Repent and turn to Christ” and “Be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken … a man’s pride shall bring him low”.

Several police officers were stationed around the protest, set up on Piccadilly, to prevent potential clashes. 

Marchers from the group Queers for Palestine also walked down Piccadilly.

The group held posters accusing Israel of genocide and condemning “pinkwashing” – the accusation that the Israeli Government takes a progressive position on gay rights to improve its international reputation.

Pictured top: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joins the Pride in London parade (Picture: PA)

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