Thousands, including Taoiseach, attend Belfast Pride Parade
Thousands, including Taoiseach, attend Belfast Pride Parade.Photo: . Pictures may be protected by copyright.
Thousands of people attended the annual Belfast Pride parade on Saturday 03 August, which saw the Taoiseach take part in his first Pride march in the city and also the Rainbow flag fly on Belfast City Hall for the first time.The Pride parade has taken place in Belfast since 2001.From around 100 people in the first parade to around 55,000 people in 2018, Belfast Pride has come a long way.Indeed, organisers claim the Belfast Pride Parade is the ‘biggest cross community parade in Belfast and the single biggest parade in the city, the main event in the LGBT+ calendar’. Belfast Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) The parade itself was part of the Belfast Pride Festival, which runs over 100 events across 10 days.Organisers say the event is a ‘protest and a celebration, a call for equality, a stand for solidarity and a celebration of the lives of LGBT+ people in Belfast’. Pride flag In June 2019, Belfast Councillors took the decision to flag the Rainbow flag over Belfast City Hall for the first time, and as dawn broke, the Lord Mayor, Sinn Féin’s John Finucane was present for the raising of the flag.Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane helps staff raise the Pride flag over Belfast City Hall (Pic: John Finucane via Twitter) An Taoiseach later met with the Lord Mayor at the event, as Leo Varadkar attended his first Belfast Pride Parade.He Tweeted: “Biggest march in Northern Ireland is not orange or green, it’s rainbow coloured.This is NI at its best.Best of Britishness and Irishness.” The Taoiseach also met with the partner of the late Lyra McKee, Sara Canning.Taoiseach Leo Varadkar getting selfies at the Belfast Pride parade (Pic: Leo Varadkar via Twitter) First for island of Ireland The event saw many community groups, unions, and businesses take part in the parade, which left Custom House Square towards Donegal Place.Organisers said there were cameras along the route with high vantage points to stream the entire parade live, a ‘first for Pride events across the island of Ireland’. Belfast City Hall was Belfast City Hall lit up for Belfast Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) The event finished with a concert in Customs House Square, with DJ Robert Brown among others performing on stage.Rights Northern Ireland remains the only jurisdiction on these isles that does have legislation permitting same-sex marriage.Couples can have a Civil Partnership only.Therefore, there was a political element to the parade, with Amnesty NI, Love Equality NI, and some of the political parties taking part and carrying signs with various slogans calling for ‘Rights for All’ and ‘Pride is Protest’. Amnesty Sign held up at Pride (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) Last month some leading NGOs and civic society groups in Northern Ireland welcomed the vote in the House of Commons on 09 July which requires UK legislation to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland unless a Stormont Executive is formed by 21 October 2019.Under the legislation, the Government will be obliged to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland unless devolution is restored by that October deadline.Related story: Leading NGO groups welcome House Of Commons vote on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland Features: Equal Marriage Campaign in Northern Ireland . The post Thousands, including Taoiseach, attend Belfast Pride Parade appeared first on Inside Ireland .