1. On Saturday, the country’s first ever gay pride parade was held in Nicosia, Cyprus.
4. Costas Gavrielides, the president of ACCEPT-LGBT, one of the organizations that worked to organize the parade, said he was overwhelmed because he had expected just a few hundred people to show up.
6. Cyprus decriminalized homosexuality 12 years ago, but activists say the country still lags behind in terms of gay rights.
8. Among the speakers was Cypriot gay rights pioneer Alecos Modinos, whose court battles in the 1990s forced the government to repeal anti-gay laws.
9. “We hope Cyprus becomes a European Union member country that respects rights not only in words, but in deeds as well,” said Modinos.
11. But the celebration was met with many anti-gay protests as well.
12. A group of Orthodox Christian protesters, some holding crosses, staged a demonstration nearby and called the parade “shameful.”
13. The Cyprus Orthodox Christian church condemned the parade publicly, and issued a statement saying it considers homosexuality “the human being’s fall from grace and an illness and not a natural way of life or choice.”
14. Despite the protests, organizers called the parade a “historic moment for the LGBT community in Cyprus.”
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