In total, more than a million people and some 600 LGBT groups were expected at this event, which is “the largest and most inclusive in history”, according to the organizers. It is also the first pride march organized since the start of the pandemic which had forced its cancellation.

The parade from Hyde Park at midday to arrive in Whitehall, in the heart of London, pays homage to the first march in the United Kingdom in 1972.

Several hundred people took part in this original gathering, organized only five years after the decriminalization of homosexuality in the United Kingdom.

Activists needed “incredible courage” at the time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, wishing participants a “happy” march.

In five decades, the participants in the “Pride” have gone from a few hundred to several tens of thousands and the gathering, at the start very political, has become more festive, with concerts scheduled for Saturday including the American pop singer Ava Max.

In the procession, activists from the gay liberation front were present with signs proclaiming “I was there in 1972. The fight continues for LGBT freedom in the world”.

But according to longtime LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell, some participants in the historic march boycotted Saturday’s edition, calling it “depoliticized and commercialized”.

Stephen Sanders, 54, who came to the parade wearing only an apron and underwear, said the annual event remains “very important”.

“Even today there are people who can’t march, who can’t be who they are, who are stoned or killed for that, so Pride is still very important,” he said. underline.

Mohammed Nazir, 24, a member of Rainbows Across Borders, said he dedicates the march to those who are still forced to hide their sexuality. This march “is a question of self-affirmation, dignity and equality (..) a movement where we always fight for our rights”, he told the PA agency.

For London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who posed for photographers alongside a person dressed as a queen, it’s about defending “a more open, inclusive world”

The Labor elected official underlined the “danger” always run by the LGBT community of “discrimination, prejudice and violence”

“We are marching today for those in Oslo,” he added in reference to the fatal shooting near a gay bar in the Norwegian capital last weekend, which led to the march being postponed. pride in Oslo.

In the procession also paraded demonstrators supporting Ukraine, behind a banner proclaiming: “if you defend freedom, defend Ukraine”.

As 1,235 monkeypox cases were reported in the UK on Thursday, the ‘overwhelming majority’ of which are men who have sex with men, public health officials had urged people not to visit to the Marche if they show symptoms of the disease, and to get tested.