New York celebrates gay pride, mourns Orlando massacre victims

New York:  New York was decked in rainbow colours as thousands marched through the city in a parade marked by gay pride celebrations and mourning for the recent Orlando massacre. According to initial calculations, nearly 30,000 people on Sunday took part in the Gay Pride march this year, the largest number recorded in this city where sexual diversity has been celebrated since 1970, EFE news reported. It is a movement of the LGBT community which emerged from protests following a historic raid at the Stonewall Inn gay bar in Greenwich Village in 1969. But this year, the celebration is mixed with pain from the mass shooting of 50 people in the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12. "This one will not only be a celebration of love, it will be a rejection of hate," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters before the start of the parade which lasted several hours and covered a distance of 4 km. "When we talk about New York values, our values are inclusion, tolerance, understanding and diversity," he added. Photos of the victims, some carried by people wearing veils and dressed in white, others by a group of female riders or by various participants in the march, occupied a special place in the parade today. "We want this terrible event remembered," said New York governor Andrew Cuomo, one of the participants in the parade, along with Mayor De Blasio and other representatives of the city. Cuomo had earlier announced that New York will allocate one million dollar to build a monument to commemorate the victims in Orlando and all acts of hatred against the LGBT community, although it has not been specified where it will be placed. Among the participants in the parade was Barbara Poma, owner of the nightclub in Orlando where the mass shooting took place, who had arrived days before to participate in other events. The commemoration of the slaughter began with two minutes of silence in memory of the victims. This year, with the massacre in Orlando, police boosted security and reinforced troops, which at first had caused disagreement between a community that for decades had some mistrust towards the security forces. Throughout the march, the rainbow flags representing the LGBT movement were clearly seen between hands, on bicycles and motorcycles as well as on some vehicles carrying the three stars of the parade. One of them was the Syrian refugee Subhi Nahas, one of the LGBT movement founders in his country. "Elsewhere homosexuals are persecuted and assassinated for who they are, that's why it was important to come here," Nahas told reporters. The parade was adorned with multicolored balloons, carriages, many people with flowery costumes carrying banners or posters of pride and rejection of hatred. "We won't live in fear," said one of the messages, surrounded by rainbow colours.