MADRID — More than a million people lined the streets of the Spanish capital on Saturday for the 2017 WorldPride march and parade.
Representatives of Spain’s main political parties — the Popular Party, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, Podemos, Ciudadanos and Izquierda Unida — and Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena are among those who participated in the event that took place under the slogan “For LGBTI Rights All Over the World.” Several dozen Russian LGBT rights advocates and members of Democrats Abroad are among those who took part in the massive march from the Atocha train station to Plaza de Colón that began at 6 p.m. local time (noon EST). The Associated Press reported 52 floats also took part in the parade that was still going on when the Washington Blade left the area between the Prado Museum and the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid shortly after 11 p.m. (5 p.m. EST). Marchers carried signs, banners and fans that read, among other things, “To love is not a crime.” One group marched with a banner that read, “We trans men exist.” Another marcher was holding a sign that described the Israeli government’s policies towards the Palestinians as “Apartheid.” A man who was standing on the edge of a fountain near the Prado Museum was wearing a blue t-shirt that read, “Impeach 45” in reference to President Trump. A group of Portuguese men who were walking on Madrid’s Gran Via before the march were wearing t-shirts that had a caricature of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face against the backdrop of a rainbow flag.
“Fuck you Putin,” read a message that was printed on the back of the t-shirts. “We will stop you with our gayness.” WorldPride took place against the backdrop of the ongoing persecution of gay men and lesbians in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian republic that is located in the North Caucuses. German lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.