It was an exuberant atmosphere despite the uncertain weather conditions on Saturday, as the 19th annual Vienna Rainbow Parade kicked off shortly after 2 p.m. The start and finish of the parade was the Town Hall Square, where the Pride Village is located.
Participants took "the other way", i.e. against the regular direction of traffic around the Ring. Leading the colorful demonstration was the traditional procession of Dykes on Bikes.
The first Rainbow Parade took place in 1996 in Vienna. Now it has been organized for the twelfth time by the Homosexual Initiative (HOSI) of Vienna.
Around 11.00 a.m. the Pride Village was opened to set the mood. The preparations were made very refreshing due to a short downpour, said organizer Christian Högl.
"The weather is the only thing you can not organize, but as it looks, we believe the weather goddesses this year are just fine with us again," he said when talking to the APA. When just a few drops of rain fell, his prediction turned out to be true.
Overall, according to Högl this year over 50 starting numbers in the "pedestrian group", "small cars" and "trucks and semi-trailers" had been distributed. That is with the exception of 2001, a record of participation among similar parades among all European countries.
150,000 people took part in the parade, making it the most successful one to date, said organiser Christian Hoegl from the Homosexual Initiative (HOSI) Vienna.
The June annual parade is part of the Vienna Pride event, which takes place this week under the slogan "Proud by Choice".
"Your sexual orientation does not seek you out, but how to handle it, that you can decide. And you need not hide, indeed your can be proud to show it," Högl explained.
The protest parade is against the discrimination against homosexuals and transgender people, and sees itself as a symbol of solidarity, tolerance and acceptance.