Northern Ireland

Pride: Belfast flooded with colour for parade

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Media captionBelfast Pride: Colour floods the streets for Pride parade

Thousands of people have turned out in Belfast for the annual Pride parade.

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar attended the march.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A Pride-goer grabs a selfie with taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar

Billed as a celebration of the city's LGBT community and as a protest calling for equality, the parade set off from Custom House Square at 13:00 BST and paraded through the city centre.

A rainbow Pride flag was flown from Belfast City Hall for the first time. Lord Mayor John Finucane said it was "hugely significant".

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Image caption The Pride event was a spectacle of colour in Belfast city centre

Members of BBC Pride, a staff-led initiative which operates across the UK, took part in the Belfast parade for the first time.

Image copyright Niall Carson/PA Media
Image caption BBC Northern Ireland staff joined the parade for the first time

The head of BBC Northern Ireland apologised to staff on Friday over "confusion" around participation in the event.

In an email on Friday, Peter Johnston said the organisation would not be "involved corporately" in the event.

The theme of this year's parade was 'Rights Now', as it aimed "to highlight the rights that are still denied to [the LGBTQ+] community".

Belfast's first ever Pride parade was in 1991, when about 100 people took part.

Image copyright PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Some people wore rainbow colours from head to toe
Image copyright @hakansandal
Image caption Marchers made their own signs for the parade including this mother and son
Image copyright PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption One of the rainbow flags on show was a 30-metre section of a mile-long one made in 1994

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