Thousands of people celebrated Pride in central Athens on Saturday as LGBTQ associations demanded that authorities instigate greater change despite passing a landmark reform legalising same-sex marriage and adoption.

Around 5,500 people took part in the Athens Pride parade to the central Syntagma Square in the capital, Greek police sources told AFP.

It was the first pride festival in the capital since parliament in February overwhelmingly adopted a bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption.

Athens Pride. Photo: Tatiana Bolari/EUROKINISSI

“This landmark law is the culmination of many years of hard work for a protective legislation for LGBTQI+ people in Greece,” the pride organisers said in a statement.

“However, real social change does not happen just because a government passes a law.”

They also hit out at the “inadequacies of various laws” and “barriers to social inclusion” facing the LGBTQ community.

Political parties and LGBTQ organisations joined in the colourful parade though the streets of the Greek capital.

Photo: Tatiana Bolari/EUROKINISSI

The bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption was promoted by the conservative government despite opposition from the powerful Orthodox Church and some of its own ministers.

When the result was announced in February, dozens of people waving rainbow flags celebrated in front of the parliament building in central Athens.

However, the ruling New Democracy party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the legislation on a weaker showing in EU parliament elections last week.

Photo: AMNA

New Democracy, which has been in power since 2019, won the most votes in the ballot but its share of 28 percent was lower than the 33 percent it obtained in the previous European elections and well below the 40 percent it won in Greek parliamentary elections in June 2023.

Mitsotakis told Bloomberg TV that the same-sex social reforms had “put off some traditional voters”.

Source: AFP