AMSTERDAM (AP) – Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Amsterdam’s historic canals Saturday to celebrate the Canal Parade, a flotilla of 80 brightly decorated boats filled with partygoers and singers waving rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas.
Boats representing rights groups, bars, clothing brands and even the Dutch military slowly made their way through the waterways in a repeat of the hugely popular LGBTQ Pride event two years after it was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are looking forward to a special edition where ‘be who you are and love what you want’ is the rule and the fight for equal rights is the message,” said Amsterdam Pride director Lucien Spee de Castillo Ruiz.
Spectators were crammed deep along canals and on bridges to watch the 25th edition of the parade which was the culmination of a nine-day pride event in the Dutch capital.
Early in the event, police stopped a boat supporting farmers who have been protesting the government’s plans to cut nitrogen emissions for weeks. Only 80 boats were allowed to take part in the event and had to register in advance.
The farmers’ boat was decorated with flags that read “Proud Farmers” and “No Farmer, No Food”. On board was a person in a cow costume and others wearing pink clogs and pink cowboy hats.