Manchester St Patrick's Day parade attracts 100,000

More than 100,000 people have turned out to watch Manchester's 21st St Patrick's Day Parade.

The Irish Festival parade started at 1130 GMT from the Irish World Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill and reached Albert Square at 1300 GMT.

Organisers claim it is England's biggest Irish Parade.

There was a special minute's silence in memory of those who have lost their lives in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The silence was initiated by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, councillor Mark Hackett, at the Albert Square Podium in front of Manchester Town Hall.

Councillor John Flanagan one of the co-chairs of the 2011 Manchester Irish Festival said: "On behalf of the people of Manchester and the Irish community, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the people of Japan in relation to all those who have lost their lives or have been affected by this week's tsunami.

"We want those who have suffered such a terrible loss to know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of the people of Manchester."

More than 1,000 people participated in the event, with more than 70 community groups, vintage tractors and marching bands.

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