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Huge crowds pack Stockholm for Pride

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17:16 CEST+02:00
Stockholm was thronged by an estimated 60,000 participants for Saturday's gay pride festival. Hundreds of thousands of spectators also lined the parade route.

The fun kicked off at 1pm with the crowds marching from Medborgarplatsen in the heart of the city. Reports suggested there were as many 115 floats (mobile rigs) with the route full of colour and dancing.

IN PICTURES: See more from the Pride Parade

With temperatures in the high 20s a high turnout was expected and there was some early crowd congestion on Götgatan. Many in attendance sported t-shirts and banners protesting about next year's winter Olympics in Russia.

"Swedish Olympic athletes should really act as you can't treat people the way Russia does," said Pride attendee Britta Tegby Frisk to the TT news agency.

Behind her, sporting huge black eyelashes, was Christer Rikenberg who said a boycott may go too far.

"Sweden has come a long way but if you look at the rest of the world, for example Russia, it goes several steps back. At first you think it might be better to boycott the games but there must be a better way to cause some influence than by not going."

Green Party Politician Gustav Fridolin was at the fore in one of the floats and there was representation from the Swedish defence forces. Sweden's commander in chief of the defence forces, Sverker Göranson, told TT that he wanted to show support for gay people in other countries.

"Although things are relatively good in Sweden we must show solidarity with the LGBTQ movement in other countries," he said.

Missed the parade? Watch this video recap

Also raising a cheer were the so-called 'dykes on bikes' who roared their Harley-Davidson motorcycles along the parade route.

Some wore t-shirts with the slogan 'marching for those who can't' and had black masking tape over their mouths in protest to anti-gay laws which exist elsewhere.

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Peter Rimsby, chairman of Stockholm Pride, said the recent focus on the treatment of LGBTQ people in Russia had swelled the attendance figures at Pride.

"But we haven't seen so much from the sports world. I hope that this is the alarm call that wakes them up and gets them involved with our questions."

TT/The Local/pr

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