Tens of thousands take part in 2023 Prague Pride parade through city center

This year's parade on Saturday afternoon saw about the same number of participants as last year's 60,000, according to organizers.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 13.08.2023 09:58:00 (updated on 13.08.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Tens of thousands of individuals including politicians, ambassadors, celebrities, and people from all walks of life took to the streets of Prague yesterday to participate in this year's Prague Pride parade.

This vibrant event served as the culmination of the 13th annual LGBTQ+ festival, a week-long celebration of tolerance, support, and the call for equal rights for all members of society.

Much like the previous year, the turnout for the parade was substantial, with up to 60,000 participants embracing the atmosphere of acceptance, according to organizers. Prague Police spokesperson Jan Daněk reported that there were no incidents associated with the parade, indicating a peaceful and harmonious gathering.

The procession commenced from Wenceslas Square shortly after 12:30 p.m., winding its way through the heart of the city to finally culminate at the Letná plain. Here, Pride Park transformed the area into a hub of cultural activities and performances across six different stages through the evening hours.

Notably, American singer, songwriter, and musician Laura Pergolizzi, known by her stage name LP, took to the stage at 6:45 p.m. for a performance that was filmed as part of a new music video.

Prague Pride festival program director Veronika Dočkalová highlighted the special connection between LP and Prague, revealing that the artist had already shot one of her music videos in the city and wanted to return to capture the spirit of the Prague Pride parade.

The parade itself was a tapestry of both Czech and foreign participants, coming together to celebrate the essence of love, acceptance, and unity. Families with children, representatives from various organizations, and people from diverse backgrounds all joined hands to participate in the rainbow-colored procession.

Beyond the parade's symbolic significance, it marked the culmination of this year's festival, a week-long exploration of the life and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. This year's festival theme centered around the idea of traditions and their integral role in the functioning of society.

With the motto "More Traditional Than You Think," the festival featured an array of discussions, lectures, and events that encouraged participants to delve into the rich tapestry of traditions that form the basis of our societies.

Despite encountering adverse weather conditions earlier in the week, the attendance at various festival events was notable, with Dočkalová expressing satisfaction with the enthusiastic response from the participants.

To ensure the safety and smooth conduct of the parade, Czech and municipal police officers were deployed to manage security and public order. A helicopter patrolled the skies, contributing to the overall safety measures implemented.

In tandem with the celebration, opponents of Prague Pride also made their presence felt, with a group of demonstrators arriving at the statue of St. Wenceslas on Wenceslas Square. Displaying banners with slogans such as "Pride. Love is Not Pride" and "Jesus Is Love. He Wants to Help You," they engaged in discussion with parade participants. However, no major conflicts arose as police monitored the situation.

The parade route encompassed prominent areas of the city, including Na PrikopeNa Příkopě and Celetna to Staroměstské náměstí. The procession will continue via Pařížská street, Čechův most, and up the stairs to Letná. Participants carried banners advocating for marriage equality and equal rights, accompanied by the vibrant display of rainbow flags, colorful masks, and costumes.

"We have chosen the topic of tradition because the words like 'tradition' and 'traditional' are often used in arguments against the LGBTQ+ people," Dočkalová noted.

"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 the LGBTQ+ are part of history, culture and tradition."

The presence of politicians who advocate for equal rights was a significant aspect of the parade. Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, and Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, who contributed to the bill on "marriage for all," all participated in the event. The bill, currently in the lower house of the Czech parliament, reflects the ongoing dialogue regarding same-sex marriage in the country.

The Prague Pride parade's inception in 2011 was marked by vocal conservative protests. Over the years, these voices gradually faded away, allowing the parade to become a symbol of the city's commitment to celebrating diversity, acceptance, and unity.

Despite the event's cancellation in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, the spirited 2023 parade reaffirmed Prague's role as a city that embraces diversity and upholds the principles of equality.

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