Several thousand LGBT supporters took to the streets in the Romanian capital of Bucharest Saturday for a gay pride parade that resumed after a year’s pause due to the pandemic.
Marchers young and old walked through the capital’s streets, with many waving colorful flags and blowing whistles.
Teodora Ion-Rotaru, executive director of ACCEPT Association, an LGBT rights group, told The Associated Press that Bucharest Pride, which has been running since 2004, “remains a protest that asks for the very basics.”
Although Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and the bloc prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, Ion-Rotaru says state protections often don’t stretch far enough.
“The march asks for protection from violence, protection from discrimination, protection from being fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.
Hours before the LGBT parade kicked off Saturday, around 100 far-right opponents, who advocate for traditional family values, held an anti-LGBT counter-march in the capital.
A 2019 opinion poll by Eurobarometer found that 38% of Romanians agree that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people should have the same rights as heterosexuals, while 54% disagreed.
This year marks 20 years since Romania, a country of more than 19 million, decriminalized homosexuality.