Rain fails to dampen London’s Pride
Tens of thousands of people took to the rainy streets of London today to celebrate Pride.
Torrential downpours throughout the afternoon did not dampen the enthusiasm of marchers and those who gathered in Trafalgar Square to watch top pop acts.
The march started at 1pm and LGBT members of the Royal Navy, police, fire service and paramedics marched through the streets in uniform.
London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, joined actor John Barrowman and comedian Amy Lamé on the parade’s lead float.
Despite the foul conditions, the route, which took in Oxford St and Whitehall, was lined with tourists and well-wishers, many of whom cheered and applauded the parade participants.
Older LGBT people marched alongside youth groups and Christians.
The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties had a presence at the parade, along with the Respect Coalition.
A group of around five National Front protesters turned up to picket Pride, holding up signs demanding the return of Section 28 and a ban on civil partnership ceremonies.
They were kept well back from the parade, penned in beside a group of under 30 Christian protesters.
Gay marchers blew kisses to both groups as they passed them.
At Trafalgar Square, the Mayor of London appeared onstage with his two young children.
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Mr Livingstone spoke about the terrorist bombs that were left in London yesterday, but failed to go off.
He reminded the assembled crowd of the events of the 7th July 2005, and said that tolerance and respect for each other is what makes London the diverse melting pot it is today.
The mayor also drew attention to the plight of LGBT people around the world, in particular Moscow, and reminded the crowd how lucky we are to live in this country.
The new Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, appeared onstage with Angela Eagle MP, newly appointed as a junior Treasury minister by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Ms Eagle, the only out lesbian in the UK parliament, told the crowd that Ms Harman’s appointment as Minister for Women, with responsibility for gay rights issues, was a sign that the government’s commitment to equality would continue under Gordon Brown.
Graham Norton and Amy Lamé were on hand to introduce the live acts, among them Darren Hayes, Q Boy and Kelly and the Kelly Girls.