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Prague Pride 2016: LGBT community dances through Prague, Roma in the parade too

14.8.2016 14:56
Romani participants in Prague Pride on 13 August 2016. (PHOTO:  Yveta Kenety, Romea.cz)
Romani participants in Prague Pride on 13 August 2016. (PHOTO: Yveta Kenety, Romea.cz)

Yesterday afternoon Prague was the setting for the Pride March of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals that was the high point of the sixth annual Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities. Organizers estimate this year’s attendance at around 40 000.

Participants honored the memory of the victims of the shooting this June at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Romani people also participated in the parade with their own float including a Romani flag.

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The dancing parade left from Wenceslas Square at 13:00. This year's parade was led by Omar Sharif, Jr., the grandson of the famous Egyptian actor of that name.

During the Arab Spring in 2012, Sharif, Jr. was the first publicly-known figure in the Arab world to come out as gay. He then had to leave his native Egypt for his own safety.

The parade featured 10 floats. The Ambassador of the United States of America to the Czech Republic, Andrew Schapiro, rode on one of them.

Some Czech politicians also marched in the parade, including Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová (for ANO), Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO), and Green Party chair Matěj Stropnický. The Romani organization ARA ART, which focuses on the Romani LGBT community, also had its own float.

A DJ played on the Romani float and several dozen Romani men and women danced around it. Participants marched down Na Příkopě and Revoluční streets to the Dvořák Embankment, where they held a minute of silence and released 49 black balloons representing the victims of the June shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida.

Organizers say approximately 40 000 people made it to the end point of the march in the Letenské orchards. At 14:00 a musical program began there with Italian DJ Chris Nine, who was replaced an hour later by the Czech musician Kao Oui.

The drag ensemble Crazy Goddess also performed, as did the acoustic rock'n'roll group The Fellas, who won the Academy of Popular Music award for Discovery of the Year in 2011 for their album "Robbery Blues" and are preparing a new album, "Scarecrow", this year. Romani musicians also performed, such as Jan Bendig, Erika Fečová, Pavlína Matiová, LeČhavendar, Elis, Gitana ze Slovenska and many others.

"This is the second year we have prepared a musical program for the festival. Prague Pride and the community connected with it is known to prefer electronic music. We Roma, however, prefer live musical performances, and last year it turned out we were not alone. We appreciate the fact that the organizers of Prague Pride respect our preferences and we believe audiences will once again enjoy the energy of these live musicians together with us," ARA ART director David Tišer said last week.

"We are, naturally, at Pride all night long, so DJs will share the stage with us as well. From Hungary the DJ Gypsy Robot is coming, while from Bohemia it will be GADJO.CZ (radio1) featuring HADASH (live saxophone) and DJ IPEK from Germany," the ARA ART director said.

Amnesty International screened short films on LGBT themes at its information stand yesterday, while other stands featured beverages and food, or offered activities such as the opportunity to make pancakes, get married for 24 hours, or get a free HIV test. In the evening participants moved to the Chemistry Gallery in Prague-Holešovice.

The festival continues today with a Pride Picnic on Shooters' Island. Another event is taking place today at the cemetery in Ďáblice, where Australian facilitator Zenith Virago will hold a memorial service for animals and people no longer among us.  

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lgbt, Prague Pride, průvod, Romani people



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