Thousands of people marched through the streets of Prague in the city’s inaugural Gay Pride festival. Despite intense opposition and counter-marches, colourfully-dressed revellers, many waving rainbow flags, walked to the Czech capital’s city centre under heavy police protection.

Dozens of far-right protestors yelled homophobic abuse from behind a police cordon, while the Czech Christian Democrats Party held a counter-rally.

The march took place following Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ controversial criticism of 13 Western ambassadors who had called on him to support the festival after homophobic comments were made by a presidential aide.

Police authorities were keen to prevent violent attacks on marchers such as those that occurred in 2008 when the country held its first Gay Pride event in the city of Brno.

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