Amsterdam Gay Pride boasts record turnout of 500,000

4th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

The annual canal parade on Saturday drew a record crowd of over 500,000 people, said organisers.

4 August 2008

AMSTERDAM – Organisers of Amsterdam's 13th annual Gay Pride festival which ended on Sunday said the annual canal parade on Saturday drew a record crowd of more than 500,000.

Today's AD has a picture of Saturday's Gay Pride parade on the Amsterdam canals.

According to the paper, "80 boats full of partying homosexuals" took part, including a police boat and a government boat which included Education Minister Ronald Plasterk, Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst and Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders as well as several deputy ministers.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen also took part as a passenger on the council boat.

Minister Plasterk had invited soldiers to take part in the parade in uniform, but Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries put a stop to that, saying: "We want to respect the dignity of the uniform, which is irreconcilable with an exuberant party like Gay Pride".

De Volkskrant writes that even though Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst claimed to represent the whole cabinet, including the Christian Democrats and the Christian Union, the fact that only Labour ministers attended the event was a clear political statement.

In an interview on public radio, Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop (Christian Union) accused the Labour ministers of "claiming the issue for themselves".

The participation of an Antillean boat was also a first in the history of Gay Pride. The Antillean citizens’ presence were in doubt until the last moment because many Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese people are afraid to openly admit to being homosexual because of the taboo on homosexuality in their cultures.

The Gay Pride hopes to include floats with elderly people, the handicapped and immigrants in 2009.

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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