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TUV leader Jim Allister writes to Chief Constable to 'cancel official PSNI involvement in Belfast Pride'

'I don't recall any specially liveried PSNI vehicles proclaiming an anti-hate message at the Twelfth'

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Pictured at the launch of the Policing with Pride vehicles are (L to R)  Superintendent Emma Bond, PSNI Hate Crime Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris and Anne Connolly, Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board.

Pictured at the launch of the Policing with Pride vehicles are (L to R) Superintendent Emma Bond, PSNI Hate Crime Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris and Anne Connolly, Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board.

PSNI

People take part in Belfast's annual Pride parade

People take part in Belfast's annual Pride parade

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Pictured at the launch of the Policing with Pride vehicles are (L to R) Superintendent Emma Bond, PSNI Hate Crime Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris and Anne Connolly, Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board.

TUV leader Jim Allister has written to the Chief Constable challenging the decision to allow PSNI officers to march in Saturday's Pride parade.

It comes as the PSNI defended the move to allow uniformed officers to march in the annual parade.

Questions have been raised as to whether the decision will undermine the PSNI's stated neutrality in Northern Ireland after a senior officer conceded the event has a political dimension.

Belfast Pride actively promotes the campaign to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland - the only part of the UK and Ireland where it remains outlawed.

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said the PSNI's objective in participating in Saturday's parade was to show support for a community that suffers a "disproportionate" number of hate crime attacks and to reflect the diversity of the police's workforce.

Mr Harris added that the PSNI was "unlikely" to allow uniformed officers to take part in a Christian march that expressed a view that homosexuality was a sin.

"We are a politically neutral organisation," he said.

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"Just step back from the narrow point about the societal change that some element of the gay pride event wishes to promote.

"We are there, one, to assure that community of our protection in terms of hate crime and also to be a representative workplace."

He insisted the PSNI was not undermining anyone's belief system.

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Belfast Gay Pride 2015

Belfast Gay Pride 2015

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  A religious protestor hands out pamphlets to participants taking part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: A religious protestor hands out pamphlets to participants taking part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  A man displays his rainbow coloured tights as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: A man displays his rainbow coloured tights as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  A street party on Union Street takes place as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: A street party on Union Street takes place as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  Drag artiste Glitzy Glamour performs on stage in Union Street as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: Drag artiste Glitzy Glamour performs on stage in Union Street as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: Thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  A man draped in a rainbow flag watches as religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality while thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: A man draped in a rainbow flag watches as religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality while thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  Religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: Religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  Religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: Religious protestors demonstrate against homosexuality as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1:  A drag queen takes a selfie with a friend as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 1: A drag queen takes a selfie with a friend as thousands of participants and supporters take part in the 25th annual Belfast Pride parade on August 1, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage whilst legal in the United Kingdom is still not recognised in Northern Ireland despite repeated votes on the issue. The governing Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Picture -  Kevin Scott / Presseye

Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square

Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Picture -  Kevin Scott / Presseye

Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square

Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Picture -  Kevin Scott / Presseye

Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square

Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pride Party in the Square Pictured is the pride party in the square at the Custom house square in Belfast Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Basil McCrea, centre,  joins thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Basil McCrea, centre, joins thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland's LGBT community. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland's LGBT community. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Members of Sinn Fein join thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Members of Sinn Fein join thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Christian protesters outside the City Hall as thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Christian protesters outside the City Hall as thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Teenagers look on as thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Teenagers look on as thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson joins thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson joins thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland?s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland's LGBT community.

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland's LGBT community.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - 

Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community.

Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland.

Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st August 2015 - Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland??s LGBT community. Organisers claim there was a larger than normal turnout in the wake of the recent same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

PRESS RELEASE IMAGE

1/8/15: Justice Minister David Ford showing his support for the LGBT community at Belfast's Pride Festival with Roisin Lavery, Equality Commission and Sean O'Neill, Festival organiser. Picture: Michael Cooper

PRESS RELEASE IMAGE 1/8/15: Justice Minister David Ford showing his support for the LGBT community at Belfast's Pride Festival with Roisin Lavery, Equality Commission and Sean O'Neill, Festival organiser. Picture: Michael Cooper

Michael Cooper

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Belfast Gay Pride 2015

On Wednesday TUV leader Jim Allister published his open letter to the PSNI's Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Within it he expresses his "dismay" at the decision and accused the PSNI of "selectivity" as he said that Orange Halls had been targeted in numerous arson attacks, "but no one is suggesting – certainly, not me – that the PSNI should show opposition to these hate crimes by participating in Orange parades", he writes.

The letter states: "This is a highly politicised event with the demand for a change in the law to permit same sex marriage at its heart. Why is the PSNI joining in this political campaign?

"The official slogan for this year’s event is “Demand Change”, which links directly to the campaign for same sex marriage, a point made very clear by the chair of Belfast Pride in the forward to the 2017 Festival Guide.

"Why, then, is the PSNI involving itself in a political campaign? Just as I wouldn’t expect the police to involve itself in demands to change the law on abortion, so, lending support to the demand to change the law on marriage is wholly inappropriate."

Mr Allister also questioned the PSNI vehicles which will also be part of the parade, bearing banners with the Pride message: "Policing with Pride".

He wrote that hate crime is "wrong whoever is the target" but added that he did not recall "any specially liveried PSNI vehicles proclaiming an anti-hate message at the Twelfth! So, why the partisan selectivity in elevating hate crime against LGBT community as alone worthy of police support?".

Mr Allister concludes his letter stating that officers have been authorised to take part in a parade with a "divisive record".

"You must also be aware this is a parade with a history of causing gratuitous offence to Christians with its infamous and blasphemous poster “Jesus is a fag”. Yet, as one who professes the Christian faith, you have authorised the participation of your officers in a parade with such a divisive record. What happens if such a poster is displayed again this year?

"The fact that the parade is divisive and controversial is signified by the fact that it is marked as “sensitive” on the Parades Commission website. Notice of a protest has also been lodged.

"Therefore, as well as the PSNI associating themselves with this overtly political event, there are legitimate questions about how the event can be impartially policed when officers are marching in the parade? I call on you to step in and cancel official PSNI involvement in this political parade."

In response, the PSNI said: "Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said: “Police officers and staff have been involved in the Pride event for many years. Participation in Pride does not imply that the Police Service of Northern Ireland endorse any political causes. We are a politically neutral organisation.

“Pride is an important series of events for those in the community who identify as being LGB+T. The PSNI sees Pride as an opportunity to highlight that hate crime in whatever form is wrong and the importance of reporting it. It also allows us to show that we are here to protect all members of our community.

“Hate Crime, including homophobic and transphobic hate crimes are well known to be under reported crimes and we have taken this opportunity to livery a number of vehicles to highlight that hate crime is unacceptable.

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland is committed to ensuring our workforce is totally representative of the community we serve and that we are seen as an employer of choice.”


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