Speaking at Durban Pride this weekend, a representative from the ANC Youth League called on the government to take action against LGBTI hate crimes.

The city’s Pride parade celebrations kicked off on Saturday with hundreds of people gathering at a sports field next to Kings Park Stadium.

The crowd was addressed by MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA’s Deputy Federal Chairperson; local councillor Martin Meyer; the Rev. Deborah Bell from Deo Gloria Family Church; and provincial ANC Youth League leader Jomo Sibiya.

They all expressed their support for the LGBTI community with Sibiya taking a strong stand against the ongoing spate of hate crime attacks against LGBTI South Africans.

“It is embarrassing to see people killing gays and lesbians in this country. The government must take the lead to target those who kill gays and lesbians. They should treat these people like those who kill policemen; they must be sent to jail for a very long time,” said Sibiya.

He went on to say: “The government must also educate our society on gays and lesbians. They must not say that it should be left up to you alone.”

Sibiya suggested that the ANC should re-assert its support for LGBTI equality at its Mangaung conference at the end of the year.

“We must make sure in Mangaung that what is happening in Zimbabwe and in some other countries in Africa does not happen here to gays and lesbians,” he said.

A moment of silence for the victims of hate crimes was held, with the crowd holding hands and then singing the national anthem.

Around a thousand people and a handful of colourful floats took part in the parade past the Moses Mabhida Stadium and through the city’s streets. The revellers were met with hoots and cheers from passing cars and pedestrians.

The procession returned to the sports field where an estimated 2 500 people continued the celebrations into the early evening.

“We managed to pull off a professional, safe and enjoyable event,” commented Jason Fiddler, a member of the Durban Pride steering committee.

“We got good cooperation between the various political parties and all the organisations to make the event come together and to make it an inclusive space. We had great diversity,” he added.

Fiddler noted that a number of participants came in from out of town for Pride and that the event saw considerable growth from the previous year. “It bodes well for the future of Durban Pride and for the LGBTI movement,” he said.

• View our Durban Pride 2012 Gallery 1

• View our Durban Pride 2012 Gallery 2

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