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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 01:55 GMT 02:55 UK
Brazil hosts huge Gay Pride march
Gay Pride parade in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo
Organisers say the march is the world's biggest Gay Pride parade
Hundreds of thousands of people have converged for a huge Gay Pride parade in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

Crowds carrying rainbow flags danced through one of the main avenues, as floats blasted music from loudspeakers.

Organisers said nearly two million people were at the march. If the figure is confirmed, that makes the parade the biggest of its kind in the world.

The event's managers said the parade was not just a party, but also a demonstration for equal rights.

One of the parade organisers, Antonio Carlos da Silva, told the BBC Brazil had a long way to go in overcoming homophobia.

"This is a very macho country, especially some parts of the country," he said.

"We also rank first in violence against gays so from gay bashing to murder we have a lot of problems in this country."

Another organiser, Pedro Almeida, told AFP news agency: "A homosexual is murdered here every two days - just for being homosexual."

Demanding equal rights

Gay, lesbian and bisexual Brazilians were joined by about 400,000 visitors from around the world for the ninth annual parade along Avenida Paulista.

A drag queen in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The marchers' main demand was the legalisation of gay unions in Brazil, where a proposed law has been debated in Congress for 10 years.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes gay marriage in the country, which is the world's largest Catholic nation.

"We have the same commitments, we want the same rights," a banner read.

"It is not easy in our daily lives," a drag queen named Paola said.

"We have to end the prejudices that society has against us."

See the 'world's largest' gay pride march

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