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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Colourful parade marks EuroPride
EuroPride parade
The parade marks the end of a festival of gay and lesbian culture
Thousands of people have attended a huge parade marking the end of a two-week European festival of gay and lesbian culture.

Streets in central London were closed as marchers, floats, dancers and bands led the EuroPride procession.

Spectators cheered as the parade, including a giant rainbow flag, wound its way towards Trafalgar Square.

"It shows to the world what London is, the world's most diverse, gay-friendly city," said organiser Jason Pollock.

Mr Pollock, EuroPride London 06 chief executive, said the festival had drawn 750,000 people to the capital.

Men in uniform

A Scotland Yard spokesman said about 40,000 people had turned out for the parade.

About 40 Royal Navy personnel paraded in their uniforms for the first time at the march.

Army and RAF personnel were not given permission to take part in their official uniforms, however.

The parade travelled along Oxford Street and Regent Street then on to Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, then Whitehall and Victoria Embankment.

Mayor Ken Livingstone, who was at the front of the parade, said it was a chance to celebrate the lesbian and gay community's contribution to the city.

He said: "What this shows as we march through the city of London - one of the greatest cities on earth - is a city can be a wonderful place to live in with people of every race, religion and sexuality."

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