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Associated Press

Huge crowds watch Amsterdam Pride's canal parade celebration

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are lining Amsterdam’s historic canals to celebrate Canal Parade

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Amsterdam's historic canals Saturday to celebrate Canal Parade, a flotilla of 80 brightly decorated boats packed with partying and singing people waving rainbow flags, balloons and umbrellas.

The boats representing rights groups, bars, clothing brands and even the Dutch military made their way slowly through the waterways in a resumption of the hugely popular LGBTQ Pride event after two years canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are looking forward to a special edition where ‘being who you are and loving who you want' is the norm and the struggle for equal rights is the message,” Amsterdam Pride director Lucien Spee de Castillo Ruiz said.

Spectators were packed several people deep along canals and on bridges to watch the 25th version of the parade that was the the highlight of a nine-day pride event in the Dutch capital.

Early in the event, police stopped a boat supporting farmers who have for weeks protested government plans to slash nitrogen emissions. Only 80 boats were allowed to take part in the event, and they had to register ahead of time.

The farmers' boat was decorated with flags saying “Proud of the Farmers” and “No farmer, no food.” On board was a person in a cow costume and others wearing pink clogs and pink cowboy hats.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Hundreds of thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Thousands of people lined canals and bridges in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Boats line up for the start as thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Police, rear, prevented protetesting farmers from taking part in the Pride Canal Parade as thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Police, rear, prevented protetesting farmers from taking part in the Pride Canal Parade as thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The banner at right reads "No Farmer No Food". (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Hundreds of thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
People dance on a boat as hundreds of thousands of people lined canals in the Dutch capital to watch the colorful spectacle of the Pride Canal Parade return for the 25th edition after the last two events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)