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80,000 party at Israel gay pride parade, area's biggest (with video)

BY IAN DEITCH
ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM -- Shirtless Israeli men, colorfully dressed drag queens and others partied Friday through central Tel Aviv as tens of thousands of people took part in the city's annual gay pride parade, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Tel Aviv is one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public. The city has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the region.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said more than 80,000 people took part. Loud music blasted along the parade's route, thick with people dancing to the beats and waving rainbow flags. Drag queens wearing heavy makeup, dresses with sequins and high heels bounced along to the music alongside scantily clad men and women.

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