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Subject "The Biggest Parade On The Planet" - Brazil's Gay Pride Parade Draws Millions
Poster Handle 90848 (M)
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[link to www.boston.com]

SAO PAULO, Brazil --Millions of people packed the streets of Sao Paulo for what organizers said was the world's largest gay pride parade, dancing and waving rainbow flags in a carnival-like atmosphere to condemn homophobia, racism and sexism.

At least 3 million people filled the canyonlike Paulista Avenue, organizers said, surpassing last year's count of 2.5 million. The larger count was confirmed by a police spokesman who is not authorized to be quoted by name under department rules.

"This is the biggest parade on the planet," Tourism Minister Marta Suplicy said. "Our city is showing, once again, its respect for diversity."

In comparison, recent gay pride parades in New York and San Francisco have drawn tens of thousands of people, and world gay pride day celebrations in Berlin in 2004 attracted between 200,000 and 500,000 participants.

Parade organizer Nelson Matias Pereira said this year's participants are appealing for a "world where racism, sexism and homophobia, in all their forms, no longer exist."

Trucks blasting disco and electronic music rolled through the streets, followed by marchers carrying banners with slogans such as "Dignity for All," and "All Forms of Love Bring Us Closer to God."

"There is no question the prejudice we have suffered for years has diminished a lot," said one marcher, mechanic Sebastiao Pereira Rodrigues, who was wearing black leather shorts and a tight purple T-shirt. "But it's still there and we still a long way to go,"

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