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Gay Pride Marches in US Mark 50 Years of Modern Gay Rights Movement

Marchers carry signs with historical LGBTQ figures during the Queer Liberation March in New York, Sunday, June 30, 2019.

New York staged a huge Gay Pride march Sunday, one of several in major U.S. cities marking the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay patrons at the city’s Stonewall Inn bar that sparked the modern gay rights movement.

The New York parade could attract three million rainbow flag-waving supporters. More than 650 contingents with 150,000 people, including community groups, corporations, politicians and celebrities, are planning to march through the city's streets.

"I believe we are going to have the greatest Pride celebration in the history of the globe," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a vocal defender of gay rights and a Democratic presidential candidate.

In Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, the city's first openly gay mayor, is one of seven grand marshals for its parade.

The annual celebration of gay rights has its origin in the June 1969 riots sparked by repeated police raids on Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. The riots proved to be a pivotal touchpoint in the LGBTQ community's struggle for civil rights.

The smaller Queer Liberation March started Sunday morning at the bar, with its organizers saying that the Pride march had become too commercialized and heavily policed.