Page last updated at 08:02 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 09:02 UK

No restrictions for gay parade

An aerial view of Rio De Janeiro's Gay Pride parade in 2007
There is an annual Gay Pride parade in Belfast and cities around the world

This year's Gay Pride parade in Belfast will not be subject to any restrictions, it has been announced.

Religious groups are nevertheless expected to picket the annual event, which takes place on Saturday.

This is the second year in a row that the Parades Commission has not placed any restrictions on the event.

On Monday, organisers gave assurances to the quango over stewarding as well as the behaviour of those participating in the parade.

It sparked controversy two years when one participant carried a placard which Christians found offensive.

"We respect the views of those who are organising the Pride parade and those who wish to express their opposition," said Parades Commission chairwoman Rena Shepherd.

"Just as with any other parade where there is disagreement the commission believes it is paramount that all concerned treat each other with respect and show tolerance towards the view of wider society.

"We welcome the assurances we have received in regards to the stewarding of the parade and the general conduct of the participants."

Ms Shepherd added that it was "very clear" that the Belfast Pride parade was a "welcome addition to the city and it is a colourful and positive celebration of all lifestyles which co-exist in Belfast".

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