Rainbows, Floats Descend on DC for Capital Pride Parade - NBC Southern California
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Rainbows, Floats Descend on DC for Capital Pride Parade

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    Washington, D.C. was awash with rainbow colors as crowds of revelers celebrated the city's vibrant LGBTQ+ community during the Capital Pride Parade Saturday.

    More than 200 contingents featuring floats, marchers, entertainment and a bus carrying the NBC4 team partied through the streets of Dupont Circle for more than four hours.

    Thousands of attendees lined the route, dancing, singing and screaming for the floats and organizations going by.

    The parade was led by Grand Marshals Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was abducted and killed in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. Since his death, his parents have become advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.

    "For the past two decades we have tried to create a legacy not only for our son, but for all those without a voice who experience hate and discrimination, especially those individuals more marginalized in our community yet more impacted by hate violence," the Shepards said.

    Organizers and attendees feared rain and thunderstorms might dampen the festivities, but pop-up storms affecting the region steered clear of D.C. during the parade.

    Metro operated on a regular schedule Saturday, with a few exceptions. The Vienna and Dunn Loring stations are closed for maintenance and the Red Line will be single tracking after 10 p.m. See here for street closures and parking restrictions.

    Celebrants also gathered for pride parades in Boston and Los Angeles.

    A group called "No Justice, No Pride" has criticized Pride Parade's sponsors and board, saying they neglect the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ+ community.

    "All signs indicate that Capital Pride 2018 will once again celebrate weapons manufacturers, corrupt banks, and police departments, aligning itself with those who profit off of the oppression of the most marginalized members of our communities," the group wrote on their website.

    The organization said it was behind a group of protesters who temporarily stopped the last year's parade and forced it to be rerouted

    Ashley Smith, the Capital Pride Alliance board president, said their organization has been warned that protesters may disrupt the parade this year, but as of 8:30 p.m., it appeared no protests disturbed the route.

    "We also feel very strongly that everyone has their right to free expression, but believe that it is through dialogue and an exchange of different viewpoints," Smith said in a statement. "Not disruption of our community gathering in pride as we do each June and in protest as we have been in the current hostile political environment," Smith had said.

    An official Capital Pride block party with DJs, food trucks and drinks will run until 10 p.m. on 15th Street between P and Church Streets.