(AFP) – Jun 13, 2009
PARIS (AFP) — Thousands of people across Europe on Saturday took part in colourful gay pride parades to protest against anti-gay prejudice.
In Rome, organisers said an estimated 200,000 people took part while in the French city of Strasbourg the turnout was put at between 2,800 and 3,500 by police and organisers.
Around 2,000 Greek gay and lesbian people also marked the annual gay pride event in Athens, with an estimated 1,000 taking to the streets in Warsaw and several hundred in Zagreb.
Gay rights activist Rossana Traitano in Rome said the country had more in common with "Russia than with France" in its attitude to gays and lesbians.
In Zagreb, special police accompanied the marchers and a few dozen anti-gay protesters carrying banners with slogans including "gay pride the shame of our city" booed and shouted insults.
"Despite our presence there is still a lack of freedom, a restrictedness," Marko Jurcic, a gay activist, told journalists before a 30-minute-long march through central Zagreb.
"We want that the city of Zagreb, its institutions and citizens recognise our existence and our support for an open and better Zagreb," he added.
"They (gays) are endangering the freedom of normal, heterosexual people who want to raise their families ... and live according to God's and natural laws," said Josip Miljak, head of the extreme-right Croatian Pure Party of Rights that organised the anti-gay protest.
Polish activist Tomasz Baczkowski said attitudes were changing slowly in the largely Catholic country.
"But the intolerance is still omnipresent, so much so that our parades are always useful," he said.
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