U.K.’s first Pride parade returns in London on 50th anniversary – National

Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets London on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Self-esteem parade, filled the streets of England’s capital.

A vibrant crowd turns out to join or watch the festivities, forming a spectacle of rainbow flags, sparkles and sequins. After two years of cancellations because of the coronavirus pandemic, the parade is now half a century later His First march to celebrate Pride in 1972 in London.

Saturday’s procession took place on a similar route to the original, which began outside Hyde Park and toured the streets towards Westminster. The London mayor’s office said more than 1 million revelers attended the celebrations, which included a concert in Trafalgar Square.

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Chris Joell-Deshields, director of Pride in London, said “important” rights and freedoms have been earned since the inaugural event, “but there is more work to be done”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan hailed a “beautiful day” of “unity, vision, equality and solidarity” as he joined the celebrations.

More than 600 LGBTQ groups are expected to join the march, led by members of the Gay Liberation Front from the 1972 rally.

Organizations ranging from charities to universities to emergency services are also represented. But uniformed officers from the London Metropolitan Police force were not among them, as was the case in previous years.

READ MORE: Tens of thousands crowd downtown Toronto as the live Pride parade returns

The move comes in response to LGBTQ campaigners voicing concerns about their confidence in policing, particularly the quality of police investigations into homicides. Serial killer Stephen Port made. In 2016, Port was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of four young gay men he met online.

Members of the police force were able to join Saturday’s march in their own way.

“I think the police are very sensitive to the issues raised by the community,” said Khan. “And there will be uniformed officers in and around Pride to make sure we’re all safe, to make sure this parade is a success.”

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Participants were encouraged to take a COVID-19 test ahead of a march with cases of the virus rising across the UK. The UK’s Health Security Agency has issued a similar warning to people with possible symptoms of monkeypox.

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