Prague LGBT Pride festival is underway, Roma organizing Hot Chocolate stage at the post-parade party
On 7 August, the seventh annual Prague Pride festival celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons began with events and exhibitions. More than 100 cultural, discussion, social and sports events were on offer this week, and it will all culminate in the traditional Saturday march through the center of the Czech capital.
The festival lasts through Sunday, 13 August. This year the organizers want to highlight the difference between respect for LGBT people and tolerance of them.
Various events have drawn attention to anti-LGBT prejudice and the fates of gays and lesbians living in various countries, including the Czech Republic, as well as to their human rights. This is the fourth year that the Romani organization ARA ART will participate in the program, joining with a float in the parade on Saturday 12 August and offering visitors a musical program on the Hot Chocolate Stage at Letná from 14:00 until 22:00.
Performers there will include the Milan Kroka Live Band, DJ Gadjo.cz, and more. "This year our message is that we are not satisfied with the fact that one minority here [some Romani people] discriminates against another [LGBT people]. This will not just be about amusement and music, but there will also be discussions on that subject. We have invited many young gays and lesbians from all over the country - many of them have something to say about this, they want to express their opinions," ARA ART director David Tišer told news server Romea.cz.
The festival was officially launched on 7 August with a concert on Shooter's Island in the Vltava river, and the festival village has been there all week. The Romani band Terne Čhave, Slovak singer Katarzia, Czech rapper SharkaSs, and circus acrobats all performed at the opening.
Two other festival locations where big parts of the program were concentrated during the week have been the People in Need Center (Centrum Člověka v tísni) and the Venuše ve Švehlovce cultural center. The week-long program has been offering children's events, conferences, dance parties, discussions, exhibitions, film screenings, guided tours of Prague and religious services.
Saturday's parade will set off at noon from Wenceslas Square and proceed through náměstí Republiky square to the Dvořákovo nábřeží embankment and the Čechův most bridge. After crossing the bridge the marchers will climb up the stairs into the orchards on Letná, where concerts will take place on different stages.
The program of the festival is available at www.praguepride.cz. Those interested can download an application for their smartphones there.
Most of the events are free of charge. The parade was first held in Prague in August 2011.
Conservatives have loudly protested the event ever since. Some opponents are planning to protest along the parade route on Saturday this year as well.
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