Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Tynwald Day: Thousands celebrate the the Isle of Man's national day

Tynwald Hill during the ceremony
Image caption The open-air sitting of Tynwald takes place in St Johns each year

Thousands of people have celebrated the island's national day at the annual open-air sitting of the Manx parliament in St Johns.

The ancient ceremony saw politicians, dignitaries, the judiciary and the clergy assemble on Tynwald Hill.

The sitting includes the reading of the island's new laws in both English and Manx.

Proceedings also included the chance for protesters to present petitions to the Lieutenant Governor.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said he was "exceptionally proud" to be taking part in the "special ceremony".

Image caption Chief Minister Howard Quayle said being part of the ceremony was "incredibly special"

Based on Norse traditions, the event has been marked on the island for 1,040 years.

It is the only sitting of the parliament held outside each year.

David Ashford MHK said it was a "chance for parliament to come out of the legislative buildings" and for "people to be able to get their views known to the legislature".

About 20 petitions were presented during this year's sitting.

Image caption Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney presided over the proceedings

Ten new laws were read at the sitting in a part of the ceremony known as the promulgation of the acts.

If a new law is not promulgated within 18 months of being given Royal Assent, it falls from the statute book.

One of the laws read out this year was the Abortion Reform Act, which legalises terminations on the island.

Image caption Alex Allinson MHK said the ceremony was "an important part of the political process"

Alex Allinson MHK, who brought the legislation forward, said the sitting was "an important part of the political process".

"It's not just ceremony, it's not just pomp, it's not just a chance to get suited up for one day of the year," he added.

"It's on days like this that it actually hits home to you - we are making laws, we're passing legislation, we're changing people's lives for the better."

Image caption The President of Tynwald wore ceremonial robes for the sitting
Image caption Julie Edge MHK said it was an "emotional" day for politicians
Image caption The guard of honour and music were performed by the Grenadier Guards
Image caption Petitions for redress of grievance were presented at the foot of Tynwald Hill
Image caption David Ashford MHK said it was a chance "for Tynwald to come directly to the people"
Image caption Crowds watched the ceremony from the Tynwald fairfield
Image caption Members of the clergy and judiciary took part the procession to the hill
Image caption Tynwald's longest serving member, David Cretney MLC, took part in the ceremony for the final time

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