El Salvador, Chile gay pride rallies honour Orlando victims

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Participants gather in the streets of San Salvador, El Salvador 28 June 2008, during the 7th Gay Pride Day Parade.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador - Demonstrators rallied in the capitals of El Salvador and Chile on Saturday in gay pride parades honoring the victims of the Orlando massacre and demanding an end to discrimination.

"What we want is to be free like birds, we don&39;t want discrimination and mourning," said Katherine, a 32-year-old transgender woman wearing black wings who was among some 1,000 people marching in San Salvador.

 

 

The march, protected by police, was led by cyclists waving rainbow banners.

At a much larger rally in Santiago, Chile, tens of thousands of people including families with children urged the government to legalize same-sex marriage and allow gay parents to adopt.

Demonstrators carried a giant rainbow flag, while a hot air balloon also in rainbow colors floated above the crowd.

 

 

In Chile, a socially conservative country where the Catholic Church remains influential, divorce was legalised only in 2004.

Congress approved gay civil unions in October 2015 after a 12-year process, but gay couples are not allowed to adopt.

Rolando Jimenez, head of the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, said he was moved by the high turnout.

"We have changed so much as a country, and for the good," Jimenez said in a statement.

In both Santiago and San Salvador marchers paid homage to the 49 people shot dead at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida on June 12.