Gay Parade attracts 400,000 partygoers
9 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Up to 400,000 people lined the banks of Amsterdam's 17th century waterways on Saturday to view the capital's Gay Pride canal parade.
9 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — Up to 400,000 people lined the banks of Amsterdam's 17th century waterways on Saturday to view the capital's Gay Pride canal parade.
Some 80 colourfully decorated boats with gay men and lesbians in equally colourful costumes took part in the parade, the culmination of the city's 9th Gay Pride festival.
This year's parade was more popular than last year's event, when 300,000 gathered in the Amsterdam city centre, news agency ANP reported.
The parade along the Prinsengracht and Amstel took place without incident as 40 to 50 police officers kept surveillance. Police also had no objection to the dress of parade participants: "Here and there naughty, but not vulgar".
Organising committee Gay Business Amsterdam (GBA) had again urged participants to be more naked and mischievous than previous years in protest against recent anti-eroticism efforts by the Amsterdam Council.
A spokesman for GBA explained to Expatica that it was opposed to the council's policies against pole dancing and its ban on erotic fashion shows. He also said the canal parade is made more attractive by nudity.
About one-fifth of the boats obliged the GBA request, offering glimpses of naked and muscled upper bodies and buttocks, tight swim pants and several naked breasts to onlookers.
GBA was pleased with the nudity, saying that just 10 percent of the boats last year had showed naked skin, compared with 20 percent this year.
Onlookers, however, told Amsterdam television station AT5 they thought there was less nudity than in previous years.
The theme of this year's event was "Amsterdam Pride goes International" as flags from various nations were flown and gay clothing from distant, exotic lands was placed on display.
Several participants also drew attention to the discrimination faced by gay people in some parts of the world, public news service NOS reported. In the Netherlands, gays can marry and adopt children.
The Aids Fund also participated in the parade as did the Amsterdam fire brigade, which used one boat for gay men and another boat for lesbian women.
The Gay Pride festival ran from 5-8 August and included street parties, sports activities and cultural and musical events. Amsterdam is sometimes referred to as Europe's gay capital.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Gay Pride