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Belfast Pride: Rainbows brighten city after downpours as Belfast streets filled with colour, glitter and attitude

By Michelle Smyth

Rainbows brightened up Belfast before the torrential rain had even finished on Saturday as the city's streets were filled with colour, glitter and attitude for the 24th Pride festival.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) community, their families and friends defended themselves against the rain with umbrellas or ponchos and paraded through the streets clad in rainbow flags.

Dramatic and glamorous looking drag queens – being careful not to get their bouffant hairstyles ruined – travelled in style through the parade in vintage cars, waving to the crowd and cameras as they passed by.

Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon had earlier opened Northern Ireland's largest LGBT celebration as it kicked off in style at Custom House Square.

The parade made its way back to Custom House Square where the party was wrapped up by performances from Stooshe and music from DJ Gareth Woods.

Sean O'Neill, who chairs the Belfast Pride Festival, said people had come out onto the streets to celebrate and to "ask for full equality, the same rights as everyone else – no more, no less."

"We want Belfast to be the inclusive, progressive, confident city that we know it can be," he added.

Among the groups that took part in the parade were Lifeline, Here, Cara Friend, Belfast Roller Derby, the Alliance party and Sinn Fein. A small group of protesters from the Free Presbyterian church gathered at City Hall to make their opposition known.

Students' Union president Rebecca Hall said ahead of the parade that she will be calling on the Assembly to abolish the ban on blood donation for gay men and to allow marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

 

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