More than 100,000 people are taking part in the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv on Friday, which started at Gan Meir and culminating in a huge beach party in Charles Clore Park.
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Main thoroughfares in the city will be closed to traffic from midday to 3:30 P.M., promising grid-locked streets and obstructions in public transportation.
The parade route will end in Charles Clore Park this year instead of at Hilton beach. It will leave Gan Meir, on King George Street, at 1 P.M. and pass through Bograshov, Hayarkon, Frishman and Herbert Samuel streets on its way to the park.
The following streets will be closed to traffic: Bograshov in both directions, Marmorek from Ibn Gvirol to Rothschild Boulevard, Arlosoroff from Ibn Gvirol to Hayarkon, Ben Yehuda from Allenby to Dizengoff and from Kikar Hamoshavot to Herbert Samuel, Hayarkon and Jerusalem Blvd. All the streets crossing the parade route will also be closed. No parking will be allowed along the route from 7 A.M.
Ministers Yair Lapid and Yael German and MKs Zahava Gal-On, Ofer Shelah, Shelly Yacimovich and Nitzan Horowitz on Thursday held a panel at Tel Aviv’s Gay Center ahead of the parade.
“Support for the gay community and its rights is part of what defines me as a person,” Lapid said at the gathering. “I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for myself. As long as the gay community doesn’t have all its rights, it means I’m still not living in the country I want to live in,” he said.
The parade is the highest point of Gay Pride Week that began on Sunday, in which some 30,000 tourists were expected to take part, according to the organizers.
Throughout the week, City Hall on Rabin Square has been lit with rainbow colored lights and for the first time the rainbow flag was hoisted this year alongside the U.S. flag outside the American embassy in the city.
Before the parade, from 10 A.M. a happening will take place in Gan Meir, hosted by film actress Moran Atias. The guest of honor will be the singer Dana International, star of the parade’s official online clip.