(Reuters) – A pared-down LGBT Pride march drew thousands of people to the streets of Paris on Saturday, without the colourful trucks blasting out techno music, but with powerful slogans demanding racial equality and protesting against police violence.
The French capital’s official Pride parade was postponed to November because of the coronavirus epidemic, but organisers decided to hold a march they said should be more politically driven, and support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
“Because of COVID, the normal Pride parade had to be cancelled, but we managed to organise a Pride that is more political,” a drag king and illustrator, who gave her name as Saint Eugene, told Reuters TV.
Marchers, who chanted slogans such as ‘Everyone hates the police’, made their way peacefully from the Moulin Rouge cabaret in the Pigalle neighbourhood, to Place de la Republique on the city’s Right Bank, many of them wearing face masks.
Some waved ‘Black Lives Matter’ placards in support of protests ignited by the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose death in police custody in Minneapolis in the United States triggered worldwide protests.
More than 200 LGBT rights marches have been postponed or cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus, according to the European Pride Organisers Association, which estimates that up to 22 million people attend at least one Pride in Europe every year.
“It’s not just a month of Pride, we have to fight every day, it’s a battle every day, to get across a message around the world,” said teacher Ahmed Madkouri.