The Military Police will not release official data about the parade at Avenida Paulista, but organizers claim that the number of people attending the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade yesterday could be close to 5 million, which would largely surpass last year's reported 3.5 million. Folha Online reported this morning that 3 million people would be a more accurate number, especially considering 5 million would represent about 25% of the population of São Paulo.
After experiencing the parade last year, I promised myself that I would not go again this year. As much as I do believe in fighting for my rights, my feeling is that the parade in São Paulo has become nothing but a dangerous street Carnival. Last year instead of feeling a sense of belonging, I was saddened to see people falling all over the place due to drug and alcohol abuse, and people being robbed and attacked. Unfortunately this year was not much different.
On Friday afternoon, a 25-year-old man was found dead at Mercure Hotel in the Jardins area. The victim was a guest of two hotel guests, and was found dead at a 1-meter deep pool, next to where one of the hotel guests passed out sleeping. No official statements about the death have been released by the police yet.
Even though the Military Police claimed that 1,600 officers on duty yesterday at Avenida Paulista were enough to guarantee security, news reports confirmed that the Gay Pride parade this year was actually more violent than last year's. Several people complained of being robbed right next to police officers, and the area reserved to press was almost invaded early in the afternoon. Official data confirmed that the number of thefts was up 78% from last year. Not a good sign.
The extra hospital beds and emergency units were not enough to take care of people suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. At around 3 pm, a 56-year-old man had his leg crushed by one of the floats and was taken immediately to the hospital. He had to have his leg amputated, and is under intensive care.
That is not how I think we can make a difference. I can now fully understand why all the big clubs pulled their floats out of the parade this year.
More about the parade at:
Brazil's gays stage huge parade against bias (Reuters)
Millions celebrate gay pride in Brazil parade (IHT)
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