Thousands March Across Europe in Gay Pride Events

Posted June 25th, 2011 at 6:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian police on Saturday detained up to 14 activists taking part in an unauthorized gay rights demonstration in the country's second largest city, Saint Petersburg.

Russian authorities regularly ban gay rights activists from assembling.

The demonstration coincided with gay pride events in other parts of Europe.

Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday in the French capital, Paris. Many praised the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of New York and called for France to do the same. Some French politicians joined the marchers.

The rally came nearly two weeks after the French National Assembly rejected a bill presented by the opposition Socialist Party that would have allowed gays to marry.

In Germany, thousands packed downtown Berlin wearing colorful costumes. The participants called for acceptance of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. The city's gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, was expected to attend the event.

Some European Union member states, including Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, have legalized gay marriage.