Thousands march in Bucharest LGBTQ pride parade

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A gay couple hugs during a LGBTQ+ pride parade near a bus stop that has anti-LGBT graffiti message sprayed on it, in Bucharest, Romania, March 14, 2020. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS

BUCHAREST, Aug 15 (Reuters) - (This Aug. 14 story corrects paragraph 4 to say an estimated 8,000 (not 2,000) people joined the march)

Thousands of people joined an LGBTQ pride march in Bucharest on Saturday for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of planned legislation that would chip away at minority rights.

Socially conservative Romania, which decriminalised homosexuality in 2001, still bars marriage and civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Lawmakers from two different parties - the junior ruling coalition ethnic Hungarian party UDMR and the opposition ultra-nationalist Alliance for Uniting Romanians (AUR) - said they plan to introduce legislation to ban so-called gay propaganda in schools when parliament reconvenes in September.

An estimated 8,000 people joined the march on Saturday, dancing and waving rainbow flags. Riot police fined the organisers for exceeding the number of participants allowed at civic protests. The organisers will challenge the fine.

"We have a long way to go as a country until we come to accept everyone," said Daria, 16, at her second pride parade.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie Editing by David Holmes

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