Northern Ireland news

Thousands come out for 25th Pride event

David Roy
03 August, 2015 01:00

THOUSANDS of people took to the streets of Belfast city centre on Saturday for the 25th annual gay pride parade.

Billed as Ireland's "largest lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans festival", the Belfast Pride Festival's Pride Day parade featured a colourful cavalcade of floats, bands, banners and characters, most of them draped in pro-Pride rainbow flags.

The parade left Custom House Square at noon before making its way around the city centre via Royal Avenue to Belfast City Hall and beyond.

Organisers estimate that over 40,000 people were in Belfast to take part in the parade, a larger than usual turnout due to the recent 'yes' vote on gay marriage equality in the Republic.

The Pride parade has long been the focal point of the Belfast Pride Festival, which ran from July 24 until yesterday. The slogan of this year's event was "25 years building equality. It's time."

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sinn Fein's Arder Carson, helped to carry a banner calling for gay marriage equality in the north as the Pride parade moved off from Custom House Square.

Justice minister David Ford helped to carry the Alliance party's banner along the route to show its support for equal rights.

Other politicians taking part in the march included culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín, SDLP MLA Alex Attwood and NI21's Basil McCrea.

A group of Christian protesters staged a demonstration at the gates of Belfast City Hall against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

On Saturday night, the building and grounds were lit-up in rainbow colours to mark the Belfast Pride event.

03 August, 2015 01:00 Northern Ireland news

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