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GAY RIGHTS

In pics: Over a million people celebrate Madrid Pride 2016

One of the world's biggest gay pride celebrations took place in Madrid this weekend.

In pics: Over a million people celebrate Madrid Pride 2016
Spain's parliament was decorated in rainbow colours. Photo: Sara Houlison

Madrid played host to one of the biggest gay pride celebrations in the world this weekend, as over a million people took to the streets and some of the city's most famous landmarks were decorated in rainbow colours. 

In pics: Madrid Pride 2016

Madrid's parliament building and city hall were festooned in rainbow colours to mark the event. 

Vigils were held for the victims of the shooting in the Pulse gay club in Orlando on June 12th, in which 49 people died and 53 were injured. 

Madrid's mayor Manuela Carmena took to the stage to call for an end to homophobia: “Everyone, no matter the ideology or political party, must push for real equality now,” she said. 

Madrid is also set to host World Pride 2017, in what is expected to be one of the biggest street parties the city has ever seen. 


Photo: AFP

In pics: Madrid Pride 2016 

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GAY PRIDE

In pics: 400,000 march through Madrid for Gay Pride

Four hundred thousand people turned out on the streets of Madrid Saturday for a Gay Pride parade dedicated this year to pioneers of the LGBT+ cause, amid growing fears of fresh repression with the rise of the far-right in Europe.

In pics: 400,000 march through Madrid for Gay Pride

The marchers converged on the Spanish capital's main Atocha train station for the start of the festivities. The 400,000 figure was later given by police.

The slogan for this year's march was “History, struggle and memory” and participants marked 50 years since the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 which were the foundation of the gay rights movement worldwide.

Catholic Spain at the time was controlled by dictator General Francisco Franco and homosexual acts were illegal. Thousands of gays were shipped off to rehabilitation centres or even jailed.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1978, three year's after Franco's death, since when Spain has become one of the most LGBT-tolerant countries in the world, authorising gay marriage and adoptions by gay couples in 2005.

“I'm 53 years old and I have suffered,” said Manuel Carmona, carrying a large rainbow flag for Saturday's march.

“But those who are 63-years-old suffered more and those who are 73-years-old even more and I want us to recognise these people who have helped us,” added Carmona who has been attending the pride march for 30 years.

Madrid's city hall swung to the right in June after a conservative candidate was elected mayor with the support of newly-emerged far-right party Vox, in a move that has caused concern in Spain.

Vox has said that the Madrid Gay Pride Parade should be moved to a park in the suburbs and opposes public subsidies for the event.

“They do not want to understand that when we talk about LGBT rights, we are talking about human rights,” said Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who is himself gay and took part in the march.

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