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Paris gay pride marchers brave heat to mark Stonewall anniversary

Christophe Archambault, AFP | Participants wave rainbow flags at the Paris annual gay pride parade June 29, 2019.

Thousands of LGBT rights activists and supporters joined the annual gay pride parade in Paris Saturday, braving punishing temperatures to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and to demand access to fertility treatments.

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On a 5.5 kilometre trek from Montparnasse to Place de la République in the heart of Paris, demonstrators in colourful ensembles doused themselves with water as the French capital suffered one of the worst heatwaves the city has ever experienced.

"I think it's the hottest day of the week so far. May be even ofthe whole summer. But it's worth it. It's not a problem. I've got three-and-half litres of water in my bag that I can share,” said a demonstrator.

Each year, organisers of the annual Paris pride parade call for more action on LGBT rights.

Serious issues but fun for whole city

The marchers wound their way through the French capital under the traditional rainbow colours of the LGBT community.

Among the slogans waved on placards were "You don't have a monopoly on families", "Close down the Vatican" and "Neither the world nor women are here to be conquered".

David, a 20-year-old who came from Toulouse in southwest France to join the march, said: "We are here to have fun, but we mustn't forget the reason behind (the march) -- to continue to fight for our rights".

He deplored the "casual homophobia" of insults hurled in the streets.

A French opinion poll this week showed that more than half of those who define themselves as gay, bisexual or transgender have been victims of a homophobic attack, including all levels from insults to rape.

Fiery IVF debate

One of the focuses this year was access to fertility treatments. France plans to adopt a bill next month allowing all women access to state-funded treatments such as IVF, including those who are single or in same-sex relationships.

The legislation has repeatedly been pushed back.

"The draft legislation is getting underway.There could really be a violent debate about it,” said another demonstrator. “And I'm worried about that because it can affect a lot of people. The debate could be tough on everyone.”

The pride march this year comes 50 years after the Stonewall riots in New York City,which led to the gay liberation movement in the US and has been spreading across the world.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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