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Pride Parades in the U.S. Take a Somber Tone After Orlando

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Sadness and symbolism rang heavy at LGBT pride parades across the U.S. on Sunday, as millions marked the annual event two weeks after the fatal mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Despite heightened security concerns following the attack, where a lone gunman pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group murdered 49 revelers at the Floridian city’s popular LGBT venue Pulse, pride marches in major cities including New York, San Francisco and Chicago took place without incident, Reuters reported.

Tributes to the Orlando shooting victims were ubiquitous, with marchers at the front of the parade in Chicago carrying photos of each of the 49 people killed and several others carrying balloon letters spelling out PULSE. The nightclub’s owner, Barbara Poma, and its entertainment manager, Neema Bahrami, were atop the first of 85-odd floats in New York City.

The New York City parade also saw a surprise appearance from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, who walked part of the way alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The parade ended at the Stonewall Inn, the bar where a police raid in 1969 sparked riots and rallies considered the inception of the LGBT rights movement in the U.S. On Friday, President Obama immortalized the venue by declaring it a national monument.

“This parade is New York City saying defiantly, ‘We will stand up to hatred,’” de Blasio said in his address to the gathered crowd. “We will stand up to those who would try to undermine our values.”


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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com