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Berlin Gay Parade Targets Russia

A picture held by a participant of Berlin's gay parade showing President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wearing makeup. Reuters

Organizers of a gay parade in Germany attended by more than half a million people targeted Russia for its laws aimed at "homosexual propaganda" with caricatures, costumes and even a confetti cannon.

Organizers said more than 700,000 people took part in the event on central Berlin streets Saturday, with a number of people carrying signs or wearing costumes caricaturing Russian authorities, AFP reported.

As the parade passed the Russian Embassy, a cannon loaded with confetti unloaded a blast of the colorful paper aimed at the building, marking participants' dissatisfaction with recent broadly defined laws that have banned the promotion of homosexuality to minors in several cities and regions in Russia.

Some participants bore giant portraits of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev retouched in the flamboyant style of gay French artists Pierre and Gilles.

Others donned Orthodox religious icons and colorful clothing resembling that worn by members of the Pussy Riot rock group, three of whom are currently under arrest and face up to seven years in prison in a case that has outraged human rights groups.

Saturday's parade was Berlin's 34th Christopher Street Day tribute to the so-called Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969, when police harassment at a New York gay bar prompted days of rioting and contributed to the emergence of the gay rights movement in the United States.

The event was opened by Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit.

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