Greek politicians present at Athens Pride, LGBT police invited to participate without uniform

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On Saturday evening in Athens, the central square of Syntagma was filled with rainbow colors, banners calling for equality and inclusion and tens of thousands of participants in the Athens Pride march .

The march which began at 7 p.m. in front of the Greek Parliament marked the culmination of a week of events to celebrate LGBT visibility.

This year’s theme, “Unconditional”, called for equality in legal and social terms, including in marriage and the family.

The event marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York in 1969, widely seen as the birth of the movement to secure equality for LGBT people. Photo: AMNA

“We can enter into a cohabitation agreement, but not a marriage. We can have children, but only as individuals […] We can access education, but the programs do not contain us. We can feel safe, but only if we hide or remain invisible […] We have the right to live enjoying the rights and fulfilling the obligations that we share with the rest of the world. We and our families demand real equality without “yes, buts”, with security and inclusion, without conditions or asterisks. Unconditionally. reads an extract from the message of the organizers of the festival which is in its 17th edition in the Greek capital.

Representatives from all political walks of life showed their support for the event through their presence and posts on social media.

Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports Nicholas Yatromanolakis was among the government representatives, while opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, PASOK-KINAL’s Andreas Spyropoulos and MeRA25’s Yianis Varoufakis also attended.

Political parties including SYRIZA and PASOK-KINAL set up stalls in Syntagma Square during Athens Pride celebrations this week.

Participants in the march came from all walks of life. But despite the diversity of outfits representing different groups, one was missing, as the police participated without wearing their uniforms.

The Athens Pride celebrations culminated in the annual march past the Greek Parliament. Photo: AAP via EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

Pride organizers said the decision was made given the LGBT+ community’s strained relationship with Greek police, following the murder of activist Zak Kostopoulos in 2018.

The decision was respected by the European LGBT Police Association which met in Athens on Wednesday, but not everyone was happy.

“Neither the police nor Pride want us. We came out everywhere,” said Police Action President Michalis Lolis, who identifies as a gay police officer.

People sing and dance as they take part in the annual Gay Pride parade known as ‘Athens Pride’ in Athens, Greece, June 18, 2022. Photo: Vasilis Rebapis/Eurokinissi.

After the march, the lineup for the celebrations included Helena Paparizou and Onirama among other performing artists and featured popular TV personality Giorgos Kapoutzides.

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