Around 60,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Belfast this weekend to celebrate Pride Day.
LGBT+ rights and marriage equality remain at the heart of political discourse in Northern Ireland, but representatives from across the community will step out in celebration on Saturday.
And in a first for the home of local government, the rainbow flag will fly from Belfast City Hall in support of the movement.
Kicking off at Custom House Square at 1pm, parade organisers are hoping to outdo last year’s crowd totals of 55,000 people.
Ulster Rugby and the PSNI are among the organisations to be represented.
Welcoming the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Pride flag, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill reflected on the progress of the LGBT+ community so far.
“The prospect of the rainbow flag being flown from Belfast City Hall would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” the mid Ulster MLA commented.
“So the decision to mark Pride in this way is a powerful symbol of a changed and changing city and demonstrates how far we have come in the ongoing march to full equality.”
Ms O’Neill encouraged locals to join the parade in a show of solidarity with the LGBT+ movement for marriage equality.
“Of course, we still have a long way to travel on that march,” she continued. “That is why it is so important that we not only fly the flag, but we stand in solidarity at Saturday’s Pride Festival.
“The Pride festival is one both of protest and one of celebration of our LGBTQI+ community.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to send a loud and colourful message that we stand against inequality and discrimination, that we stand for a society which values and cherishes all people and we stand for a society which is inclusive.
“The parade will be assembling at 1pm at Custom House Square and I would urge everyone who can to join us there.”
Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.4ni.co.uk/northern-ireland-news/262766/thousands-to-step-out-in-pride