Riga (AFP) – Thousands of people took to the streets to support LGBT rights in cities across Europe on Saturday, with marchers waving rainbow flags and condemning discrimination in all its forms.
Peaceful parades took place in the capitals of Italy, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.
In Warsaw, several thousand marched for the annual “Equality Parade” to protest discrimination not just against LGBT people but also women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
“I come from a small town and first marched for equality 10 years ago, without telling my parents,” Dominika Wroblewska said at the Warsaw parade.
“It’s very moving for me, especially since I came out a year ago,” she said.
Her partner Alicja Nauman said she was marching “because I want to live in a place where all love is accepted, because love knows no boundaries”.
“The situation in Poland is bad because same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children.”
The “Baltic Pride” parade in Latvia’s capital Riga included members of the gay community from fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania.
One of the organisers, Kaspars Zalitis, told AFP that about eight thousand people marched.
“Latvia is in last place in the European Union when it comes to the rights of LGBT people,” Zalitis said.
“There is no protection against hate crimes, no respect for trans people, that’s why we think this issue is greatly urgent.”
About 30 people protested before the start of the parade in Riga, following a call by a rightwing group for a demonstration against “the promotion of homosexuality”.
In Rome, thousands marched for Gay Pride just days after Italy’s new families minister caused a storm by saying that homosexual families “don’t exist”.