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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Gay Pride parade given go-ahead
Belfast Gay pride parade
The parade has taken place in Belfast for 14 years
A Gay Pride march due to take place in Belfast will take place as planned, the Parades Commission has ruled.

The march, scheduled for 6 August, has been held in the city centre for the past 14 years.

The police passed the matter on to the commission for consideration after some Christian groups called for the parade to be banned.

However, Amnesty International said the march should be given the go-ahead.

"Prejudice against people based on their sexuality is, sadly, all too common in Northern Ireland and around the world," said Amnesty International's NI programme director Patrick Corrigan.

"Politicians, church leaders and ordinary people all have an obligation to stand up against such prejudice and stand in solidarity with gay people here and worldwide who face persecution and violence."

Republican march

Meanwhile, the commission has placed restrictions on a republican march in Ballymena, County Antrim, to commemorate the introduction of internment in 1971.

A spokesperson for the commission said it would be restricted to the nationalist Fisherwick estate.

SDLP representatives in Ballymena have asked those responsible for organising the march to rethink the event, which is expected to attract a crowd of over 600 people.

A statement released by Sean Farren, Declan O'Loan and PJ McAvoy said local residents were "overwhelmingly opposed" to the parade taking place.

"The area affected has a majority of nationalists but also a substantial proportion of unionists," it said.

"Nationalist and unionist residents oppose it. The organisers are failing to consider the views of the local population."

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching season.


SEE ALSO:
Protesters call for Gay Pride ban
14 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
'Christian anger' over gay parade
28 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Hundreds attend gay pride parade
08 Aug 04 |  Northern Ireland


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