Cologne streets fill for LGBT+ parade

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The Christopher Street Day parade is among the largest LGBT+ events in Europe.

Organizers said the parade would be the longest ever, with a 4.3-kilometer route (about 2.8 miles) going through the city center.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Sunday in the western German city of Cologne for the annual Christopher Street Day (CSD) demonstration and celebration.

The parade, which is the culmination of two weeks of pride events, is among the largest LGBT+ events in Europe. Only Berlin’s celebrations are of comparable size in Germany.

Goal ‘not yet reached’ in fight against homophobia

“We have already achieved a lot, but we have not yet reached our goal,” Culture Minister Claudia Roth said in opening comments of the event.

She said that there was still a lot of work to be done in the fight for equal rights and against homophobia and discrimination.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called for participants to take care of each other, to stay hydrated and take shelter in the shade.

Cologne is seeing hot and humid weather of up to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) this Sunday, which prompted German weather service (DWD) to issue a heat warning for it and other cities.

What happens during CSD in Cologne?

Organizers said the CSD parade would be longer than ever, with some 60,000 participants following a 4.3-kilometer route (about 2.8 miles) through the city center.

ColognePride said it expected up to one-and-a-half million people to attend.

Some 220 groups were registered for the parade, which features music and floats, but others are also invited to walk the route.

The name Christopher Street refers to the location of the Stonewall Inn bar, a popular venue with New York’s gay community, which police raided in 1969.

That police action prompted days of clashes with law enforcement and protest from gays, lesbians and transgender people complaining of intense discrimination against their communities.

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