Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Tens of thousands of people descended on London’s streets on Saturday for the annual gay Pride march, marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales.

Armed police and strict security measures were in place to protect revelers following a recent spate of terror attacks, with around 25,000 participants parading down Regent Street, many wearing flamboyant costumes, waving rainbow flags and holding colorful balloons.

Hundreds of thousands more were expected to party thorough the night around the Soho district.

“This is the biggest Pride in London’s history and in Pride’s history, there are more than 1.5 million people here today, and it’s really important that Londoners are free to be who they want to be, free to love who they want to love,” London mayor Sadiq Khan told AFP as he joined marchers.

“We’ve had a horrific few weeks with the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and three terrorist attacks, and what today’s about is love,” he added.

“It’s showing that actually the best antidote to the sadness, the sorrow, the bereavement, is having a great pride in London.” (AFP)

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Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants attend the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community take part in the annual Pride Parade in London on July 8, 2017. (Photo: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

A reveler dressed as Amor enjoys the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

A reveler dressed as the Queen enjoys the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

A man sits on the pavement in Soho following the annual Pride in London Parade, in London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Revelers enjoy the Pride London Parade in London, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants and police officers take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants take part in the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

People in Soho relax following the annual Pride in London Parade, in London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Thousands of LGBT revelers take part in the annual Pride in London parade under the banner #LoveHappensHere on July 08, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Paul Davey/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

Participants attend the annual Pride in London Parade, which started in Portland Place and ends in Whitehall, in central London, Britain, July 8, 2017. (Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

People take part in the Pride in London Parade in central London, Britain on July 8, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

A giant rainbow flag is carried down Regent Street during the Pride in London Festival on July 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Annual gay Pride in London Parade the biggest ever

People take part in the Pride in London Parade in central London, Britain on July 8, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)