COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Around 1 million people turned out for the Pride parade in the western German city of Cologne on Sunday, either to participate or to watch the colorful festivities.
Around 180 LGBTQ groups and music floats took part in the parade through the city center — more than ever before, German news agency dpa reported. Organizers said about 1.2 million visitors attended the celebrations, while the police estimated the crowd at around 1 million.
With the parade, Cologne is sending “a strong signal for diversity, for tolerance, against hate and against exclusion,” said Hendrik Wuest, the first governor from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne is based, to attend the city’s parade in its roughly 30-year history, dpa reported.
Cologne has one of the biggest LGBTQ communities in the country.
“Everywhere in the world, unfortunately also in Germany, there are extremists are at work who do not want to grant us our freedom,” said Sven Lehmann, the German government’s commissioner for the acceptance of sexual and gender diversity. “The strong signal from Cologne is: We will never let them take away this freedom.”