Just Stop Oil protesters interrupted London’s Pride March in protest over sponsorship from “high-polluting industries”. A number of protesters were arrested after blocking the road in front of a Coca-Cola truck.
Revellers massed in central London Saturday for the annual Pride festival amid warnings that gay rights are under threat worldwide after decades of progress.
Organisers, anticipating more than 1.5 million attendees in total over a day of marching and partying, defied threats of disruption from the climate action group 'ust Stop Oil.
The group, which staged high-profile protests at an England-Australia cricket match this week, was angered by Pride's partnership with headline sponsor United Airlines.
Just Stop Oil had also demanded that Pride ban parade floats sponsored by "high-polluting industries", and nine of its activists briefly halted a float sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Seven of them blocked the road and were hauled away by police, while two others sprayed paint over the road.
"These partnerships embarrass the LGBTQ+ community at a time when much of the cultural world is rejecting ties to these toxic industries," Just Stop Oil said in a statement.
But the mood overall was festive at the Pride parade in central London which included five music stages including in Trafalgar and Leicester squares.
London mayor Sadiq Khan, who headed the parade, said the 51st annual gathering showed "the world that our capital is a beacon of inclusivity and diversity".
The first Pride march took place in London on July 1, 1972, inspired by New York's 1969 Stonewall riots against police harassment of the gay community.
The British event has grown to be one of the world's biggest, celebrating gay identity and the progress made in entrenching the community's rights.
But Khan noted recent threats to that progress, including in Britain where right-wingers have been waging "culture wars" against so-called woke politics.
Meanwhile, Helsinki Pride Week, the biggest cultural and human rights event in Finland, draws to a close on Sunday. The theme for this year's event was Joy and Riot.