Gay pride parades in wake of Orlando massacre

Pride parades in New York, San Francisco and other US cities drew millions of revellers yesterday, two weeks after a mass shooting at a Florida nightclub galvanised the LGBT community, and rekindled outrage over American gun violence.

An estimated 1.6 million spectators turned out at the annual gay pride march through Lower Manhattan, according to its organisers.

The world’s largest celebration of pride among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people was first held in 1970.

Following the June 12 shooting at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, police departments across the country have ramped up security for this year’s parades, authorities said.

A gunman pledging allegiance to Islamic State killed 49 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

In a special tribute to the massacre victims, the lead float in New York’s parade carried Pulse owner Barbara Poma and the club’s entertainment manager, Neema Bahrami.

All told, the parade featured some 2,000 marchers and 85 floats that will wind their way downtown from the Empire State Building to Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

President Barack Obama on Friday designated the bar a national monument, the first to specifically honor the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The bar was the scene of a 1969 police raid that triggered riots and an impromptu rally that ignited a long struggle to bring LGBT people into the American mainstream and guarantee their rights.

Gun control and the prevention of gun violence emerged as prominent themes in pride events this year, with the Orlando slayings putting them near the top of the political agenda.

Representatives of two gun control advocacy groups, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, spoke at more than 20 pride events around the country this weekend, according to a statement from the groups.

Orange, the unofficial color of the city of Orlando, has been ubiquitous at this year’s events, too.


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