RIO DE JANEIRO – Gay rights activists are using Rio de Janeiro’s annual gay pride parade to demand laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Thousands of people paraded down Copacabana’s main coastal boulevard with rainbow flags and thematic floats, many dressed in carnival costumes or wearing t-shirts saying “Fight Against Homophobia.”

Organizers of Sunday’s parade, titled “We Are a Million Voices,” called on Brazil to approve a law that bans discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Gay rights activists said that passage would reduce violence against gays. This week a gay couple was beaten on the Sao Paulo subway.

Recent elections saw conservative and evangelical parties opposed to gay marriage and the anti-discrimination law gain seats in the legislature.