Million-strong Gay Pride party in London
An estimated one million people thronged the streets of London on Saturday for the annual Pride celebrations celebrating lesbian and gay culture, with events also held in other European cities.
In London, the parade snaked through the city to the constant beat of techno music and in balmy temperatures, with many participants in drag or brightly coloured costumes.
The event celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front, a pressure group which organised London's first Pride parade.
A street party was held in Soho, the central district which is the focal point of London's gay community.
Equality minister Lynne Featherstone attended the event. Earlier this week she said the government was considering allowing same-sex couples to include a religious element in civil partnership ceremonies.
In Vienna, organisers said some 100,000 people took part in a Gay Pride march with the theme of the family. Homosexuals in Austria are demanding the same rights in family law as heterosexual couples.
Participants paraded around the city to the Schwarzenbergplatz square in the Austrian capital where a concert was held.
A smaller event took place in Rome, where several thousand marched and called for equal rights for homosexuals.
Some protested that displays of public affection from gays and lesbians were still frowned upon in Italy.
"In Rome, several people have been attacked because they were kissing in public," said the president of the Arcigay Rome group, Fabrizio Marrazzo.
In Finland, Helsinki police said they arrested three young men for launching a pepper spray attack at the Finnish capital's Gay Pride parade, which drew about 2,500 people.
© 2010 AFP