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Mayor, diplomats join LGBT pride festival in Thessaloniki, Greece

Saturday, June 21, 2014
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Gay activists take part in only the 3rd ever LGBT pride parade, in Thessaloniki, Saturday, June 21, 2014. The 2-day festival  included a march around the center of this northern Greek city and will culminate in an open-air concert Saturday night. Nikolas Giakoumidis, AP

Gay activists take part in only the 3rd ever LGBT pride parade, in Thessaloniki, Saturday, June 21, 2014. The 2-day festival included a march around the center of this northern Greek city and will culminate in an open-air concert Saturday night.

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Police say more than 6,000 people have marched through the streets of Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, in its third gay pride parade.

Taking part was Mayor Yiannis Boutaris and the consuls of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland and Portugal.

U.S. Consul Robert P. Sanders carried a banner that read “Diplomats for Thessaloniki Pride.”

The mayor said he and diplomats took part this year “because we support diversity and freedom of choice, both in sex and religion.”

The march again was condemned by the local Orthodox church, whose leader, Bishop Anthimos, described it as a “promotion of perversion.”

Police maintained a heavy police presence to deter anti-gay attacks. None occurred.

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