Participants in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, June 3, 2016. Moti Milrod

200,000 Israelis, Tourists Take Part in Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade

The annual march took off following a minute of silence in memory of victims of violence perpetrated against the LGBTQ community.

Tel Aviv's 18th annual Gay Pride Parade took off on Friday morning with some 200,000 participants, according to municipality estimates.

At 10:00 A.M., a few thousand people gathered at the Gan Meir park for a moment of silence in memory of the victims of violence perpetrated against the LGBTQ community.

At 12:00 P.M, thousands began to march along Bogroshov Street toward the seaside promenade. The events came to a close at 5:00 P.M. with an array of musical performances at Charles Clore Park near the sea.

A few main routes will be shut to traffic throughout the day.

The parade focused this year on empowering women in the LGBTQ community, and its motto was "Women for a change."

Moti Milrod

After receiving threats to harm him during the parade, the Knesset's first openly gay lawmaker, Likud MK Amir Ohana, got a security detail.

Tens of thousands of tourists were expected to arrive in Israel for the event. 

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said on Friday that "We're slowly walking toward a more equal, more respectful society that allows all human beings to express themselves as they see fit."

"I want to congratulate and promise that the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa will continue to be a democratic, tolerant, pluralistic and open city that respects everyone who lives in it." 

Moti Milrod
Jack Guez / AFP
Jack Guetz / AFP
Baz Ratner / Reuters
Baz Ratner / Reuters
Oded Balilty / AP

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