2007 Orgullo Madrid Gay Pride Parade

Hundreds of thousands of people from across Europe packed into Madrid on Saturday to celebrate gay pride with an evening parade and to salute Spain's socialist government for introducing legislation that has turned this once deeply conservative nation into a bastion of gender equality.

MADRID (AFP) - Europride 2007 kicked off at 1600 GMT in the Spanish capital capping a week of events during which organisers expected a total of 2.5 million people, including 200,000 from abroad.

Forty-five floats -- double the number of last year and some of them from faraway places such as Manchester, Marseille, Stockholm and Zurich -- took part in the march through central Madrid under the slogan "Now Europe. Equality is possible."

The march ended in central Madrid, where a mega-concert was scheduled for later in the evening.