Sun shines on Brighton’s ‘perfect’ Pride

Tony Grew August 6, 2007
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The UK’s most gay city welcomed visitors from across Britain to its Pride event on Saturday.

A huge parade through the streets of Brighton was cheered on by thousands on onlookers as the sun shone down.

An estimated 150,000 people took part in the festivities at Preston Park, where fairground rides, dance tents and food stalls did a roaring trade throughout the afternoon.

The theme of the parade was musicals, and the scores of floats paid homage to everything from Phantom of the Opera to The Wizard of Oz.

Rocco Sek, from Poland, told “This is the best Pride event I have ever been to.

“The fact that it is free means there is a really nice, community atmosphere. There are lots of straight people here and lots of families, not just gay men.”

Michael Rolik, an Australian living in London, also had high praise for the event.

“It has just been the most perfect day. Brigton Pride so well planned. It is excellent, and obviously the police and the local council are 100% behind the event,” he said.

A small group of protestors from Christian Voice picketed the entrance to the park, ringed by police officers.

Their presence did lead to some angry exchanges, but most revellers chose to ignore them.

The Conservative party candidate in Brighton Pavilion, David Bull, hosted a Saturday Night Fever float.

It is the first time the party had taken part in the parade.

Police officers from Scotland, Wales, London and other forces took part in the parade.

Chief Superintendent Paul Pearce of Sussex Police told the BBC: “It was probably the biggest attendance to date yet despite such huge numbers it was a peaceful, successful parade, and party in Preston Park, with very few isolated incidents.”

12 people were arrested, mostly for drug offences.

Saturday’s parade and party were the highlight of a week of Pride events in Brighton.

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