Thousands of people marched in Nicosia on Saturday in the island’s first gay pride parade.
The festivities were somewhat marred by scuffled between police and anti-gay protesters who withdrew shortly afterwards. A smoke bomb tossed near Eleftheria Square where the main event was being held did not interrupt the gathering.
The parade returned to the municipal garden after the gathering at Eleftheria Square where a party is underway with DJ sets by Cotsios o Pikatillis of the Afro-Banana Republic crew followed by a spectacular, full-blown show by international artist A Man To Pet.
The parade was organised by ACCEPT-LBGTI Cyprus. It takes place 16 years after homosexuality was finally decriminalised in Cyprus but activists say Cyprus still lags far behind its European Union peers in terms of rights for gay people, and has been slow in pursuing legislation on civil partnerships.
Waving rainbow flags, more than 3,500 people of all ages marched peacefully through the streets of Nicosia where earlier a much smaller, anti-gay group clashed with police.
“I’m here because I support the right of everyone to be who they are,” said activist Magda Zenon. “I want to live in a society where everyone has equal access to resources and the law.”