Pride Amsterdam: Pride walk dedicated to murdered activist, quays blocked for fear of collapse

Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade 2015 (Picture: Twitter/@Kwebbelkop)Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade 2015 (Picture: Twitter/@Kwebbelkop)

Amsterdam is preparing for Pride Amsterdam, which starts in the city on Saturday. The Pride Walk on Saturday will be dedicated to murdered Russian LGBTQ activist Yelena Grigoryeva. During the Canal Parade next Saturday, the city is blocking off a total of 700 meters of quays due to concerns that they may collapse under the masse of spectators. 

Every year the Pride Walk is dedicated to drawing attention to the current situation of LGBTQ people in countries where homosexuality is still a punishable offense. Yelena Grigoryeva was murdered near her home in Saint Petersburg last week, reports. The Russian woman had been receiving death threats for some time because of her involvement in the Russian LGBTQ movement.

The Pride Walk on Saturday will start with a manifestation at the Amsterdam Homomonument, where a photo of Grigoryeva will be placed. After the manifestation, activist Kirill Khattoev will carry Grigoryeva's photo at the front of the march through the city. Khattoev demonstrated with Grigoryeva in the past. 

The route of the Pride Walk was adjusted for this year, so that the participants can be part of the ceremony in Vondelpark during which Pride Amsterdam will officially be added to the Netherlands Intangible Heritage Inventory

During the Canal Parade next week Saturday, the city will block access to a number of areas on its quays. Many of the quays in the city are in poor condition, and the municipality is worried that the already weak parts of the quays will collapse under the load of the hundreds of thousands of spectators who go to watch the parade every year. "Incidents can never be completely excluded, but where the municipality sees an increased risk of incidents, measures are taken", a spokesperson said to AT5.

Repair work has already started in some places, others will be closed down as a precaution. High fences will be placed at part of the Prinsengracht. The parade will not be visible from there. Lower fences will be placed at other quays, where extra security guards will make sure that no spectators end up on weakened areas.