Around 50,000 turn up at Europride in Zurich
A mixed crowd of gays and straights alike attended this year's annual Europride festival.Zurich -- Around 50,000 people turned out for the European gay and lesbian parade Europride's annual festival in the Swiss city of Zurich on Saturday, organiser Michael Rueegg said.
The festival, which was held for the first time in London in 1993, takes place in a different European city every year, attracting participants from all over the continent.
This year's Europride coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first gay rights movements in the United States.
Zurich, Switzerland's biggest city, is festooned with the movement's traditional rainbow colours for the occasion, under the impetus of its recently elected Socialist Party mayor, Corine Mauch, who is openly lesbian.
Ruegg said a "mixed crowd" turned up at the parade, and not just homosexuals.
"Up to now, there are about 50,000 people participating in the parade, but there will be some more people coming for the festivities later today," he told AFP. He was optimistic that a heavy downpour in the late afternoon would not dampen the festive spirit.
The festival, in the home of the country's conservative business and economic establishment, is not without its critics.
Organisers of the Mr Switzerland pageant have expressly warned their current male icon, Andre Reithbuch, to stay away from the parade, the Swiss tabloid Blick reported.
And the Christian Social Union (BCS), a lobby group, has called for the defence of the "Christian family model" and is launching a poster and leaflet campaign during Europride.
Rueegg said that he had seen some people handing out their leaflets, but added that the parade had taken place in a festive mood so far.
"I saw a few straight couples and I went to ask them why they were here, and they found my questions very absurd. They said: 'why shouldn't we be here, it's where the party is,'" said Rueegg.
Europride travels to Warsaw next year.
AFP / Expatica