London Marks Milestone Pride Parade

Mayor predicts events will draw more than 1M
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2022 3:40 PM CDT
London Marks Milestone Pride Parade
People take part in the Pride rally in London on Saturday.   (James Manning/PA via AP)

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out on the streets of London on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK's first Pride parade, filling the streets of the British capital with color. A vibrant crowd turned out to either take part in or watch the festivities, forming a spectacle of rainbow flags, glitter, and sequins, the AP reports. After two years of cancellations because of the coronavirus pandemic, the parade came a half-century after Britain's first march to celebrate Pride in 1972 in London.

Saturday's procession took on a similar route to the original, starting outside Hyde Park and touring the streets toward Westminster. The London mayor's office said that more than 1 million revelers attended the celebrations, which also included a concert in Trafalgar Square. Chris Joell-Deshields, director of organizers Pride in London, said "momentous" rights and freedoms had been earned since the inaugural event, "but there is more to be done." London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed a "beautiful day" of "unity, visibility, equality and solidarity" as he joined in the celebrations. More than 600 LGBTQ groups were expected to take part in the march, which was headed by members of the Gay Liberation Front from the 1972 protest.

Those taking part had been urged to take a COVID-19 test before the march, with virus cases on the rise across Britain. The Health Security Agency had issued a similar caution for people showing possible symptoms of monkeypox. Organizations including charities, universities, and the emergency services were represented in the parade. But uniformed officers from London's Metropolitan Police force weren't among them, as has been the case in previous years. The move came in response to LGBTQ campaigners raising concerns over their confidence in policing, in particular the quality of the police force's investigation into slayings by serial killer Stephen Port. In 2016, Port was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders of four young gay men whom he met online. Members of the police force were able to join Saturday's march of their own accord.

(More LGBTQ stories.)

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