Thousands march at Zurich gay pride festival

Some eight thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Zurich on Saturday for the Gay Pride march through the city.

Thousands march at Zurich gay pride festival
Zurich Pride Festival

The march was observed by about 15,000 spectators, who lined the streets amid a wave of colour, online new site NZZ Online reported. The demonstrators marched for the rights of gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga gave a speech in the late afternoon to the participants, and received much applause for her promise to stand up for laws that protect against discrimination of gay and lesbian people.

“Your participation in this festival is an advertisement for tolerance and openness,” she said.

Sommaruga warned that simply changing the laws was not sufficient to tackle discrimination. She pointed to the fact that discrimination against homosexuals is still common in today’s society, and appealed to people to change these attitudes by speaking out against such behaviour.

Nathalie Schaltegger, the president of the Zurich Pride Festival, praised Swiss cities for being comparatively tolerant, the website reported. She also asked the demonstrators to show support for homosexuals in countries further afield where homosexuals still face persecution and even the death penalty.

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Here’s how to snare an invite to the Swiss president’s birthday party

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga is turning 60 on May 14 and is planning a party with a difference by inviting along all Swiss citizens who share her birthday.

Here's how to snare an invite to the Swiss president's birthday party

There were 94,372 births in Switzerland in 1960 — the year Sommaruga was born — meaning that the average maximum number of invitees would be around 258.

Sommaruga is not taking any chances with potential gatecrashers and is asking prospective celebrants to submit a copy of their passport through the presidency website.

“I would be delighted to receive your registration for my birthday party,” Sommaruga wrote on Twitter on Thursday.


She is also keeping the location secret and said only that it would be “in the Bern area” — the Swiss capital. 

The Swiss presidency is a largely ceremonial role that rotates annually between leading political parties.

Sommaruga, a Socialist Party member who already served as president in 2015, took up her post on January 1 and delivered her New Year's address from her local bakery.