Canal Parade just as busy as last year, despite extra security

EuroPride 2016 Canal Parade in Amsterdam, 6 Aug 2016 (Photo: @bmijland/Twitter)EuroPride 2016 Canal Parade in Amsterdam, 6 Aug 2016 (Photo: @bmijland/Twitter)

The 21st edition of Amsterdam's Canal Parade on Saturday drew just as many visitors as last year, when a record number of people came to watch the parade. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded to the Dutch capital, despite the extra security measures taken due to the terrorism threat, reports.

According to a spokesperson for the municipality of Amsterdam, exact figures on the number of visitors are not yet available. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan was one of the spectators.

The Amsterdam police described the event as "cozy and peaceful". Though various areas in the city were so busy that the police stopped allowing people in.

A total of 80 boats participated in the Canal Parade. The first of them reached the canals around 1:30 p.m. As per tradition, many boats were decorated with balloons and feathers.

As in previous years, a number of "special" boats participated in the parade this year, including the 75 and older boat, a Moroccan boat and a bi-cultural boat.

There was a "substantially" larger police presence in the city during the Canal Parade than in previous years. The police also had extra special forces units present in Amsterdam, ready to act if necessary. This is because of terrorist attacks around the world over the past months, leading to extra vigilance at major events in the Netherlands as well as the rest of Europe.

At the start of the Canal Parade gay interest group COC called on EU Commissioner Vera Jourova to put an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation in various EU Member States. According to the organizations laws and practices exist in, among others, Lithuania, Poland and Hungary which contradict the European pursuit of acceptance.

Amsterdam hosted EuroPride this year, which started on July 23rd and ended on Sunday evening with a party on the Rembrandtplein. The party included performances by Conchita Wurst and Kate Ryan, among others. Here too the police eventually had to show people away because the square was full to its limits.