Pride on the canal: Huge crowds at Amsterdam water parade

AMSTERDAM — Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Amsterdam’s historic canals on Saturday to celebrate Canal Parade, a Pride fleet of 80 brightly colored boats filled with partying, singing and waving rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas.

The boats representing rights groups, bars, clothing brands and even the Dutch military slowly made their way through the waterways in a resumption of the hugely popular LGBTQ Pride event that had been canceled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are looking forward to a special edition in which ‘being who you are and loving who you want’ is the norm and the fight for equal rights is the message,” says Amsterdam Pride director Lucien Spee de Castillo Ruiz.

Spectators crowded with several people deep along the canals and bridges of the Dutch capital to watch the 25th version of the parade, the highlight of the city’s nine-day Pride event.

Earlier, Dutch police stopped a boat supporting farmers protesting the government’s climate plans to reduce nitrogen emissions from participating in the parade. Only 80 boats were allowed to participate and they had to register in advance.

The farm boat was decorated with flags that read ‘Proud of the farmers’ and ‘No farmer, no food’. On board was one person in a cow costume and others in pink clogs and pink cowboy hats.

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