Tens of Thousands Attend Prague Pride Parade For LGBT+ Rights
The attendance was around 60,000, similar to last year. Credit: Věra Nemochovská / Prague Pride.
Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – Tens of thousands of people, including politicians, ambassadors and celebrities, took part in the Prague Pride parade yesterday, the culmination of the 13th LGBT+ festival in the centre of Prague, to express tolerance and support for sexual minorities and promote equal rights for all.
The attendance was about the same as last year, when up to 60,000 joined the parade, Prague police spokesman Jan Danek told CTK, adding that no incidents had accompanied the event so far.
The parade started from Wenceslas Square after 12:30, and most of the participants had reached Letna plain by 3pm, where a cultural program was planned until the evening. A “Pride Park” was built on the plain, with six stages of music running until 10pm.
American singer, musician and songwriter Laura Pergolizzi, known as LP, who rose to fame in 2017 with her album Lost On You, performed at Letna in the evening, filming a new music video during her performance.
“LP was shooting one of her videos in Prague back in May, she fell in love with Prague and decided to shoot another one here. She approached our festival herself and said she would like to make it here,” said Prague pride festival program director Veronika Dockalova.
The rainbow parade brought together Czechs and foreign nationals, among them families with children as well as representatives of supportive companies and organisations.
The event concluded the 13th annual week-long human rights festival focused on the life of the LGBT+ community. This year’s festival theme was traditions and their importance for the functioning of society, with the motto “More Traditional Than You Think.” The weekly program also offered discussions and lectures.
Dockalova mentioned a high public demand for the week’s events. “Although we were hit by adverse weather at the beginning of the week, the attendance at the events was very satisfactory and the capacity was filled everywhere,” she told CTK.
During the parade, Czech and municipal police officers and members of the anti-conflict team oversaw public order in the streets of the capital city to prevent possible clashes with anti-LGBT protesters. The situation was also monitored from a helicopter.
Residents and visitors to the centre of Prague had to cope with temporary traffic restrictions in the areas where the parade took place, and some trams were also therefore diverted.
Opponents of Prague Pride were present in the city centre. About two dozen gathered at the statue of St. Wenceslas on Wenceslas Square where the parade started. They carried banners with the slogans “Pride. Love is Not Pride” and “Jesus Is Love. He Wants to Help You” and engaged in arguments with the parade participants. Police officers checked the protesters’ identities, a CTK reporter said.
Other demonstrators were on the route on Na Prikope, carrying homophobic banners in Czech and English and using a megaphone. The parade participants booed them and chanted various slogans. The Police had not had to deal with any serious conflicts so far, Danek said at 2pm.
The parade passed through Na Prikope, the Old Town Square, Parizska, and crossed the Cech Bridge, and then up the stairs to Letna plain. The marchers carried rainbow flags and banners supporting marriage for all and equal rights, and some wore colourful masks and costumes.
In harmony with the theme of “tradition”, the march was led by six people in folklore costumes, handing out bread and salt from their bags to passers-by. Several musical stages were located on balconies and on high-lift platforms lining the route.
“We have chosen the topic of tradition because words like ‘tradition’ and ‘traditional’ are often used in arguments against LGBT+ people,” said Dockalova. “It is like we are something new that has not been around at all. We are trying to say that it is not like that at all, that LGBT+ is part of history, culture and tradition.”
Some politicians from the parties that support marriage equality for same-sex couples attended the parade, including Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartos, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (both Pirates) and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) who drafted the bill on “marriage for all”. The bill is currently awaiting its second reading in the lower house of the Czech parliament, which will take place in November at the earliest.
The Prague Pride parade was held for the first time in August 2011. At the time, it met with a stormy backlash from conservatives, but this has gradually faded away over the following years. In 2020 and 2021, the event was cancelled due to the anti-COVID-19 epidemic measures.