Chiang Mai, considered Thailand’s cultural capital, has hosted its annual GLBT peace march without incident after a year in hiatus.

The march, which began in 2008, was not held in 2010 after it was attacked by supporters of ousted president Thaksin Shinawatra in 2009.

However, this year around 300 people participated in the march from the Chiang Mai night bazaar to a Buddhist temple.

The marchers were supported by the Deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai, who launched the event, while Buddhist monks took part by helping to light a giant peace sign laid out in tea lights on the ground.

A large number of participants in the parade were GLBT refugees from neighbouring Burma, where homosexuality is still punished with 10 years to life in prison.

The director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, Aung Myo Min, told local media that Burmese GLBTs faced a “struggle within a struggle”, trying to change attitudes among potential allies while living under an authoritarian regime.

“GLBT rights activists are struggling even in the communities which promote democracy and human rights for Burma,” Myo Min said.

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