Image: “I can fuck anybody.” Pirates and an Austrian march on Prague Pride

Tens of thousands of people marched through the center of Prague today in a Prague Pride march, said to be aimed at showing tolerance and support for sexual minorities and advocating equal rights for all. As part of the support for different sexual orientations and identities, queer slogans such as “I can fuck anyone I want” or “We used to be friends, but polyamory is better” were also seen. Some politicians, especially pirates, including the boss Ivan Bartos or the head of STAN Vít Rakušan, went on the rainbow parade. Representatives of companies and organizations that sponsor Prague Pride, such as Skoda or Vodafone, also came. So far, the event has gone off without any problems, Prague police spokesman Jan Danek told ČTK that roughly the same number of people will participate as last year. Last year, up to 60,000 people marched, according to estimates. LGBT+ protesters demonstrating against the march today carried slogans such as “Pride. Love is not pride”.

The event will mark the 13th anniversary of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Festival, whose theme this year is “Traditions and Their Importance for Community Functioning” with the motto “Traditional Than You Think”. Outrageous slogans such as “I can drink anyone I want” or “We were friends but polyamory is better” were seen at the procession.

Police officers, constables and anti-riot squad members monitored security and public order on the streets of the city during the march. Residents and visitors to the center of Prague had to reckon with temporary traffic restrictions at the procession sites, including the short-term diversion of trams.

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The ODS-led Prague leadership already expressed support for LGBT+ with rainbow flags earlier in the week. From August 7 to 13, rainbow flags will be flown on the buildings of the New Town Hall on Mariánské Namastey and the Škoda Palace on Jungmannová Street to mark the occasion of the festival. Representatives of the organizers earlier criticized the city for not planning to hang rainbow flags in the streets and light up the Petrine Tower this year.

Protesters of Prague Pride also came to the center of Prague today. About two dozen of them were at the statue of St. Wenceslas. Opponents held banners that read “Pride. Love is not pride” or “Jesus is dear. He wants to help you” and argued with marchers. According to a ČTK reporter, police officers checked their identities. Other demonstrators lined Na Příkopě Street, holding banners in Czech and English against homosexuality and using a megaphone. The people in the procession shouted at them and raised various slogans. Police have yet to deal with serious confrontations, Tanek said just before 2:00 p.m.

The procession passed through Na Příkopě Street, the Old Town Square, Pařížská Street and Čechův Bridge, then ascended the stairs to the Letenska Plain. Participants in the parade all carried banners supporting marriage and equal rights, rainbow flags or other paraphernalia, and some wore colorful masks or different costumes.

In the spirit of the “Tradition” theme, six men in folk dress took the lead, offering bread and salt from the stalls. Some politicians from parties supporting the current amendment introducing the possibility of same-sex marriages also came. The proposal is in the House of Representatives ahead of a second reading as soon as November. In the procession, for example, Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartos and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Lipowski (both pirates), Minister of Interior Wit Ragusan (STAN) and others. Politicians shared their support on their social networks, including photos of themselves participating in the Rainbow Parade.

Companies like Vodafone and Skoda also announced their support for LGBT+ at the parade.

In addition to the direct confrontation of opponents and supporters at Prague Pride, a debate on the LGBT topic broke out in social networks. In addition to their views on society as a whole, critics have not spared politicians and debated on Twitter whether their support and participation is a populist gesture.

Along the way, many music stages were placed on balconies or high-hanging platforms. A concert on six different stages in the plain known as Pride Park is scheduled until 10:00 p.m. Also performing will be an American singer under the pseudonym LP, who plans to film a new music video during her performance. In 2017, he rose to fame with his album Lost On You, which topped the charts in 18 countries, before which he composed songs for Cher, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and the Backstreet Boys.

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The first Prague Pride event with a parade took place in August 2011. At the time, there was a storm of protests from conservatives. In the following years, resistance activities gradually weakened. In 2020 and 2021, the event did not take place due to anti-pandemic measures related to Covid-19. Last year, 60,000 people participated in the parade.

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