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Thousands celebrate Puerto Rican pride


A woman dances down Fifth Avenue at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York on Sunday. Thousands celebrate their culture each year. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
A woman dances down Fifth Avenue at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York on Sunday. Thousands celebrate their culture each year. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Karen Matthews Associated Press

NEW YORK – Thousands of Puerto Ricans gathered on Sunday for one of the city’s largest celebrations of ethnic pride, with beauty queens perched on floats blaring salsa music and high school drill teams showing off hip-hop moves.

“It’s a beautiful parade – so much Puerto Rican pride,” said Carmen Vega, a member of a group of guitar players from the city of Yauco on the island’s southwest coast.

The Puerto Rican parade has been celebrated as an annual event in New York since 1958. While it was impossible to estimate this year’s crowd, hundreds of thousands have attended in recent years.

More than a third of the city’s 2.1 million Hispanics are Puerto Rican, according to the 2000 Census.

“What you’re seeing here are people who are proud of where they came from and proud of where they are, and that’s what New York has always been,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who waved his own Puerto Rican flag as he marched with supporters and parade organizers on Fifth Avenue.

Although the celebration was generally peaceful, a police officer suffered lacerations to his hand during a dispute, said Detective Noel Waters, a police spokesman.

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