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Outgoing Belfast lord mayor demonstrates for marriage equality outside her own city hall

Lord Mayor of Belfast Nuala McAllister joins protesters calling for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Bohill.

BELFAST Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister staged a demonstration outside the city hall yesterday to champion Saturday's marriage equality march.

She was joined by Love Equality campaigners with banners, placards and flags.

Ms McAllister, who steps down from her year in office next week, will help lead the march on Saturday, which is expected to attract thousands of supporters.

It is taking place as the British government is coming under increasing pressure to change the law banning marriage for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland.

The Love Equality campaign is led by the Rainbow Project, Amnesty International, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Cara-Friend, NUS-USI and HereNI.

The march will take place across the city centre to a mass-rally in front of city hall, hosted by Belfast actress Bronagh Waugh and addressed by among others south Armagh-born MP Conor McGinn, whose private members' bill to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland failed last month after a Conservative MP objected to its second reading in Parliament.

Ailbhe Smyth, a leader in both the successful Marriage Equality campaign and the recent Repeal the Eighth campaign in the Republic, will also address supporters, alongside Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Paula Keenan and Pauline Dempsey and Anthony Flynn and Cory Quinn, two same-sex couples currently denied the right to marry in Northern Ireland.

Patrick Corrigan, of the Love Equality campaign, said the march "will show that Northern Ireland will not be silent until we have equality".

A message of support came yesterday on Twitter from Ana Matronic, of the band Scissor Sisters, who urged: "Belfast! The March for Marriage Equality is happening on Saturday June 2 at 2.30pm, Writers' Square! Join the @Love_EqualityNI crew, bring your friends & family and #marchforequality #loveislove #equalmarriage"

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