Masses greet Stockholm Pride march

Thousands of people lined the streets of Stockholm on Saturday to take part in what organisers claim to be the single largest event in Scandinavia, The Stockholm Pride Parade.

This year the procession through the city was led by motorcycle association Dykes on Bikes for the annual event which is always one of Stockholm’s liveliest and most colourful events. It started at the Zinkensdamm sports centre in Södermalm, ending in the middle of the town at Sergels Torg.

The days leading up to the festival were however marred by news of an assault on one of the many volunteer workers in the early hours of Friday. The person was set upon by two attackers in Slussen, Central Stockholm, and had to be taken to hospital.

However, Gunnar Nihlén, security manager for the festival, reported that the victim of the attack was recovering well and that it was an isolated incident in what had been a relatively peaceful build up to the festival.

The British Embassy was among the organizations actively supporting the event. Embassy staff took part in the march – the only embassy where staff officially took part – as a way of supporting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights. According to the Embassy’s Facebook page, they also used the opportunity to promote the UK and the London 2012 Olympics campaign.

The parade is one of hundreds of separate events that make up Stockholm Pride, which is now taking place annually since 1988. The festival is packed with seminars, debates, workshops, exhibitions, film, theatre and other performances and many proceeds this year will go towards funding Stockholm Pride’s solidarity work, which provides support for organisations outside Sweden.

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Gay Sweden Democrat backs party’s Pride flag decision

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats' most senior openly gap MP has defended party colleagues' decision to stop flying the rainbow gay pride flag outside a local city council headquarters.

Gay Sweden Democrat backs party's Pride flag decision
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor took part in the Stockholm pride parade this August. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Bo Broman, who has himself several times attended Sweden's largest Pride parade in Stockholm, told The Local that the rainbow flag was “an important symbol, for me and for many others”. 
But he said he did not believe it was appropriate for any political symbol to be flown outside a public building. 
“I personally don't think that any political symbol or flag representing organisations, companies, football teams and so on belongs on public flagpoles,” he said. 
“No matter how inportant the issue is, public flagpoles should only carry the Swedish flag, the official flag for the municipality, flags from visiting countries and perhaps that of the EU or UN.” 
Bo Broman, who was previously the Sweden Democrats' financial chief, became an MP after the 2018 election. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
The city council in Solvesborg in the county of Blekinge voted on Thursday to no longer fly the rainbow flag on the flagpole outside its offices, where it has since 2013 been hoisted once a year to show support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people on the day of the pride parade in Stockholm. 
The vote has been widely criticised, with Filippa Reinfeldt, the   lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights spokesperson for the Moderate Party saying the backing the party's local wing gave to the decision was “inappropriate”.  
But Broman pointed out that Magnus Kolsjö, a former president of The Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights (RFSL), had also backed Solversborg's decision. 
“We need to be able to keep the political, private and civil society on one side, and the state and municipality on the other,” Kolsjö, who is now a Christian Democrat politician, wrote on his blog on Sunday. 
“To hoist up a political symbol, even if it stands for values which many support, doesn't fit with the needs to maintain objectivity.” 
The council decision was pushed by the ruling four-party coalition of the Sweden Democrats, Moderates, Christian Democrats and the local SoL party.