Sun shines on Vienna as record numbers celebrate Pride

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120,000 revellers attended Vienna’s Rainbow Parade on Saturday.

Organisers credited the highest turnout on record to the 30C temperatures in the Austrian capital.

The Rainbow Parade had a football theme, in keeping with Austria’s hosting of Euro 2008, which ended two weeks ago.

Organisers chanted, “no more offsides” aiming to highlight the government’s lumbering over the proposed gay marriage bill.

Christian Hoegl, part of equal rights group Homosexual Initiative, appeared despondent about the likelihood of the gay marriage bill being passed soon.

With early elections announced for September it looks like the Austrian LGBT community will have to wait for the right to marriage.

The parade had a political presence, with the Green opposition party joining the march for the first time, despite always having progressive policies and a tolerant attitude toward the LGBT community.

Their main political rivals, the Social Democratic Party, raised two rainbow flags as the march passed Parliament.

Both parties have shown their support for the gay marriage bill in the Austrian Parliament.

Gay marriage is not recognised, nor can it be performed under Austrian law.

Proposals to allow same-sex couples similar rights to heterosexual married couples were put forward in October 2007, but with elections looming the bill may be shelved.

There have been no reports of arrests or violence at the Vienna Rainbow Parade, now in its 13th year.

The march ended in Stadtpark and played host to a plethora of fancy dressed equal rights protesters.

Recent Gay Pride events in Europe have been dogged by arrests and violent protests by Neo-Nazis.

Bottles, rocks and gas bombs were thrown at Pride marchers in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

The Budapest Pride march was met with similar violence and fascist protesters had to be dispersed by police using water cannons.

Eight people were injured in the attacks, including two prominent gay politicians. 45 people were arrested.

Taking place on the same day as the Budapest Pride march was London’s Gay Pride, which went off without a hitch. Sir Ian McKellen and Mayor Boris Johnson lent their support to the 825,000 strong march.

Holland and Sweden will host major Pride events in August.