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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Record numbers join Brazil gay march
A marcher at Sao Paulo's gay pride march dressed as an angel passes a billboard
Revellers came in costume
Latin America has hosted its biggest ever gay pride march, with an estimated 180,000 people turning out in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Floats and drag queens led the march to the city centre as revellers danced to the sounds of gay anthems including It's Raining Men by the Weather Girls and the Village People's YMCA.


It gives the community a greater visibility and makes others less afraid of gays

Andre Fischer,
gay activist
The city's mayor said she was proud that the city had a reputation for accepting gay people.

"People may be different but they have equal rights," said Mayor Marta Suplicy, the former host of a TV talk show about sex.

Gay activist Andre Fischer said the march on Sunday "gives the community a greater visibility and makes others less afraid of gays".

The Ministry of Health distributed free condoms for the occasion.

Police estimated the crowd at 180,000 - a substantial increase over last year's march, which drew 120,000.

The scale of the festival has grown rapidly since 1996, when about 2,000 people participated in the city's first gay pride march.

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See also:

09 Jul 00 | Europe
Pope condemns gay rights march
08 Jul 00 | Europe
Gay pride triumphs in Rome
01 Jul 00 | Entertainment
London comes out for Mardi Gras
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