Trudeau becomes first Canadian PM to march in Toronto Pride parade

By AFP
Published: July 4, 2016
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (middle, waving flag) participates at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHOTO: AFP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (middle, waving flag) participates at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. PHOTO: AFP

MONTREAL: Justin Trudeau made history Sunday by marching with tens of thousands of people in Toronto’s Gay Pride parade, becoming the country’s first sitting prime minister to participate.

Thunderous applause greeted Trudeau as he paraded down a main Toronto artery, waving a Canadian maple-leaf flag bordered with a rainbow.

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The youthful politician, whose popularity is soaring, donned a salmon-colored, button-down shirt and white jeans, taking selfies and shaking hands with those lining the parade route.

The colorful procession observed a minute of silence to pay respect to the victims of the June 12 nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead.

The city tightened security, but kept the enhanced measures discreet to maintain a festive spirit. Toronto police have not released an official attendance count, but organizers had expected one million attendees.

Trudeau also walked in the annual parade last year as head of the Liberal Party, then the opposition leader facing former president Stephen Harper’s conservative government.

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Canada’s first openly gay head of a province, and Toronto Mayor John Tory marched alongside Trudeau.

The three politicians attended an outdoor worship service Sunday morning in the city’s gay district.

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