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Orlando massacre remembered at Madrid and Paris gay pride rallies

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Orlando massacre remembered at Madrid and Paris gay pride rallies

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There was a large turnout for the annual Gay Pride rally in Madrid, a joyous event but this year one tinged with shock and anger after the Orlando massacre.

Estimates for the number of people there ranged from tens of thousands to more than a million.

It also came against the background of a reported rise in the number of homophobic attacks in and around the Spanish capital.

The country is internationally regarded as one of the most tolerant towards homosexuality. But many feel discrimination still exists.

“We are calling for diversity to be respected in the educational system, the health system. Our children are the first ones who have grown up in an more egalitarian Spanish society, and they will not have trouble with the law. But the rest of the system and citizens need to know the diversity and respect us like any other family,” said one young woman at the rally.

In Paris too the annual parade brought tributes and reminders to the victims of the Florida nightclub shootings.

It was also the first time the event had been held since last November’s terror attacks in the French capital.

Some described it as an act of resistance.

The march had already been put back a week because of Euro 2016: security concerns also prompted the police to shorten the parade’s route to half its usual length, to the anger of organisers.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in France in 2013. But some campaigners are angry at the government’s stance towards transsexuals and medically assisted procreation.

Several politicians sent messages of support but the event caused a split within the hard-right National Front, several leading figures expressing their disapproval.

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