Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Rio de Janeiro to take part in a week-long programme of activities led by the city's LGBT community.

The event began on 18 November with the famous annual Rio Gay Pride Parade, which took place in the southern neighbourhood of Copacabana.

Though official figures are still to be received, around one million people were expected for the 17th edition of the Rio Pride Parade. The Copacabana Beach was packed with participants partying in wigs, body paints and spangles throughout the hot summer day.

Stretching across a 2.1km stretch of the Copacabana Beach, the 2012 Rio Gay Pride Parade featured techno music, DJs, drag queens, and about 20 carnival floats.

The theme for the 2012 Rio Gay Pride Parade - 'There is no prejudice in our hearts, but love instead'  - encapsulates the idea behind the march, which demands an end to all kinds of prejudice against LGBT people and advocates a more just and inclusive society that recognises equal rights for all, according to the event website.

"Heart has no prejudice. Has love - is an effort to show that humans should not be discriminated in any level and love is the way to achieve this goal," the organisers of the gay pride event said in a statement, adding: "The goal is to give visibility to the LGBT community, celebrating the recognition of their citizenship, in a city that is already known [around the world] for its great tolerance to the LGBT community."

According to an AFP report, Brazil has not yet legalised same-sex marriages. However, LGBT people in Brazil enjoy most other key rights on an equal footing.

Homosexuals can have relationships, adopt children and serve in the military. All kinds of discrimination through sexual orientation are prohibited by the Brazilian constitution.

Scroll down to view the pictures from the 2012 Rio Gay Pride Parade.

A participant performs during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro November 18, 2012.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
A participant performs during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro November 18, 2012.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Participants dance during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Participants dance during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Participants dance during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
A participant holding an umbrella takes part in a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro November 18, 2012.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
A participant performs during a Gay Pride Parade on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro.REUTERS/Pilar Olivares