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NYC gay pride march marks 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots

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NYC gay pride march marks 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots
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REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
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Rainbow flags, balloons and feathers festooned the streets of New York on Sunday as the city celebrated with the annual gay pride parade.

Thousands turned out to take part in the march and thousands more cheered the LGBTQ activists from the sidelines.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots that really brought the issue of gay rights to the attention of the world.

Early on June 28, 1969, patrons of a Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn rose up in defiance of police harassment, triggering days of rioting.

Their resistance gave birth to the national and global movement for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people.

The police excuse at the time was that the bar was mafia-owned and was selling watered down alcohol without a license, but they also ran roughshod over the customers, who decided to fight back.

"I think today what it stands for, for our community, it really represents the ideal of fighting back against LGBTQ oppression," explained Stonewall Inn co-founder and LGBTQ activist Stacy Lentz. "It really represents the idea of freedom for people all over the globe. Stonewall is not just a bar. It really is a symbol in the name. And it's almost like a brand as well. That name is assimilated with our freedom. And it's the birthplace of gay rights."

New York City has been designated the site of World Pride this year and is preparing for some 4 million visitors to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

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