Millions celebrate gay pride in Brazil

3 million people were expected to participate
SAO PAULO, Brazil Gay men, lesbians and cross-dressers paraded down the skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo's financial heart, to the beat of loud music blasted off more than 20 sound trucks.

Organizers expected more than 3 million people at the 12th annual Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, which traditionally is one of the biggest in the world. Local authorities did not immediately give an estimate on the number of people attending the event, but said millions were likely present.

According to Sao Paulo's department of tourism, the parade was expected to attract nearly 330,000 tourists to the city, 20 percent more than last year's event. At least 5 percent of those tourists were expected from abroad.

The tourists are expected to bring about US$115 million (euro73 million) to the city, in addition to helping create 13,500 direct and indirect jobs.

The parade caps a full week of attractions, including the Cultural Gay Fair, Gay Day and the International GLS Tourism Forum, the city's tourism department said.

Last year, at least 3 million people packed the streets of Sao Paulo for what organizers said was the world's largest gay pride parade.

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