MONTEVIDEO – Rainbow colors and war cries rang out at the center of Montevideo as Uruguayans gathered for the annual LGBT pride parade wearing masks undeterred by the pandemic that did not prevent a large turnout.
A gigantic rainbow flag and three vehicles with mobile DJs and dance music accompanied the march on Friday along the Libertador avenue, as thousands of people demanded an end to discrimination against the LGBTIQ community and celebrated their rights under the slogan “pride is fight.”
Protest chants such as “El Estado opresor es un macho violador” (the oppressive state is a misogynist rapist) and dance routines along with protest songs such as “Todos me miran” (everyone stares at me) rang out on the streets.
Dances by drag queens were accompanied by the waving of flags, umbrellas, and colorful handkerchiefs during the march, and the participants carried placards with slogans such as “Homophobia is worse than COVID,” “It doesn’t matter who you are in love,” and “sexual pleasure is the revolution.”
Despite a relatively low prevalence of COVID-19 in Uruguay, which has registered around 2,000 cases and 47 deaths so far, organizers held both physical and virtual pride events to observe preventive measures.
Most of the participants followed instructions by the coordinating committee of Uruguay Pride – which includes 19 social groups – to wear masks.
A spokesperson for organizers, Nahia Mauri, told EFE that they decided not to hold performances and stage events to prevent people gathering in close quarters, except a reading of demands at the end of the parade.
Similarly, the parade, which was preceded by a craft fair, changed its usual route along the 18th July Avenue to the Libertador Avenue as the latter is a much wider street and allowed more physical distance among the attendees, even as this street was almost completely covered by the people who turned up.
As part of their demands, the groups participating in the march opposed the “very regressive” emergency bill approved by the parliament in July.
The coordinating committee said it was the pet project of President Luis Lacalle Pou’s government that enabled a climate of police abuse and “institutional violence,” primarily targeting the most vulnerable sections of the society instead of fulfilling its stated aim of dealing with the post-pandemic social crisis.
The groups also denounced the non-implementation of the law granting rights trans people – approved in October 2018 by the previous left-wing government (2015-2020) – as according to the spokesperson, many measures prescribed in the legislation were yet to be carried out by the government.