Activists on the tiny island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa staged the nation’s first Gay Pride parade over the weekend in the town of Rose Hill.
Carrying hundreds of brightly colored balloons and waving banners saying “Viva sexual freedom!” and “To be gay is not a crime,” the marchers danced, waved and handed out leaflets to bemused onlookers.
“I must say that I am very surprised to see this,” said a local shop owner. “I’ve never in my life seen such a thing in Mauritius, but I think it’s good because we need to be more open and like the rest of the world.”
Other onlookers shook their head in disgust, saying that homosexuality was wrong and should not be allowed.
According to Reuters, Mauritius’ 1.2 million population is made up predominantly of Hindus, Catholics and Muslims.
Said Thierry De Ravel, president of the gay rights group Collective Arc-en-Ciel (Rainbow Coalition): “The point of today is visibility. We want to show Mauritius that there is a gay community, that we want to be out in the open. We want to be respected and we want equal rights for all.”
Mauritius Sees First Gay Rights March [washington post]
Romania Holds its First Gay Pride March [tr]