Millions of revelers are expected to
attend Gay Pride parades in London and Madrid on Saturday.
Organizers in Madrid are expecting 1.5
million people to attend a 3-day festival that features a 1.2 mile
parade on Saturday that winds from Puerta de Alcala to Plaza de
Espana in the city center.
A smaller parade in London is set to
host hundreds of thousands of revelers and includes roughly 150
floats winding from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square, where the
party will keep humming well into the night.
London Mayor Boris Johnson's absence from
the annual event has stirred up talk that the mayor is shying away
from the gay community.
Ahead of the party, Johnson, who
marched in last year's parade, said he wants London to be a leader in
“I want London to be the benchmark
for LGBT equality, which is why we must not be complacent, especially
when it comes to homophobic hate crime and bullying,” he said. “My
office will continue to work with LGBT groups as well as the police
to tackle a problem that still affects too many lives.”
Attending his first London Gay Pride,
rugby star Ben Cohen endorsed marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
Britain currently recognizes gay couples with civil partnerships.
Cohen, however, refused to comment on Johnson's absence.
“It's a very political question,”
told gay weekly Pink Paper. “And it's not something I
feel comfortable commenting on.”
London is the host city of 2012
WorldPride, a two-week long touring gay pride festival which will
take place ahead of the Olympic Games.