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British Airways criticised during Brighton Pride

Activists called on the airline to stop working with the Government to deport migrants.

Campaigners took part in the UK’s biggest Pride event to protest against the main sponsor British Airways because it co-operates with deportation rules.

Chants of “stop deportations” from the small group of protesters, who were armed with placards, were met with cheers from some of the crowd at Brighton Pride’s parade on Saturday.

On Friday, activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants called on the airline to “stop being complicit” by working with the Government to deport people in an open letter published in The Guardian which was signed by scores of MPs and public figures.

They claimed deportees included those facing persecution because of their sexuality and said the presence of such companies at the event which “profit off deportations is an affront to the vision of freedom Pride represents”.

British Airways said it is bound by law to do so when asked by the Government but the airline is never told someone’s personal information, including someone’s sexuality, and it was a proud supporter of Pride.

The airline also had a float in the parade featuring a large group of people dancing in costume, including someone dressed in an air hostess outfit in tribute to the music video for the Britney Spears song Toxic. Their arrival was also met with cheers from the crowd.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets in blistering heat before impromptu parties flooded into the city centre.

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There was a carnival atmosphere (Flora Thompson/PA)

Excitement for Britney’s headline performance reached fever pitch with people wearing face masks and dressing up in some of her most famous outfits from her music videos. Many of the parade floats were playing her best known tunes and crowds were spontaneously bursting into song.

Meanwhile, train passengers took to the internet to complain of disruption in London stations as they tried to travel to the East Sussex city to see the pop star.

The 36-year-old singer kick-starts her Europe tour with her Piece Of Me show as the headline act on Saturday night.

Organisers told people not to buy from ticket touts in the hope they will get to see headline act Britney Spears, as only those bought from approved sellers would be accepted.

Police warned revellers of a “potentially dangerous” batch of drugs which are believed to be contaminated and could be sold during the event. The Chupa Chups pills – also known as Chompa Chumps
which are shaped with a similar logo to the children’s lollypop – are linked to recent deaths, according to drugs charities. They are being passed off as ecstasy or MDMA but are filled with other substances.

For the first year, music acts will also perform on the Sunday including Nile Rodgers with Chic, Jess Glynne and Gabrielle.

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