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Seaside-themed Pride draws crowds

1 August 09 15:46 GMT

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Brighton for the annual Pride parade through the city.

The theme for this year's event, which featured more than 50 floats, was "Pride beside the seaside".

The procession set off from Madeira Parade at 1100 BST before making its way along the seafront, North Street, past The Pavilion and to Preston Park.

It was the highlight of the week-long Pride festival, which has featured more than 100 events.

Pride spokeswoman Judith Manson said: "The parade looked fantastic, with large crowds lining the street.

"There were some superb floats."

Before the start of the parade she predicted this year's procession would be the "biggest and brightest".

Spectator Steven Cooper, 28, said: "It's fantastic. It doesn't matter who or what you are; gay, straight, young or an old age pensioner, everyone is treated the same here.

"The atmosphere is second to none. It's all about being inclusive, celebrating being gay and having a good time with your friends and family."

Brighton Pride is part of a festival organised by LGBT communities to challenge discrimination.

Liam Barnes, 36, said: "The weather could be a bit brighter but it doesn't really matter at the end of the day.

"We would have a fantastic time whatever the weather."

More than 100 officers and staff from forces across the UK, including members of the Gay Police Association (GPA), led the procession through Brighton for the sixth year running.

Sussex Police Ch Supt Graham Bartlett said: "Each year we take part in the Pride parade, we receive overwhelming support from members of the public and the lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender community.

"The Pride event gives an opportunity for everyone in the city to demonstrate our intolerance to homophobic, biphobic or transphobic behaviour and to celebrate our diversity.

"This is a significant event for the city and it is wonderful to be a part of it."

Hampshire's Chief Constable Alex Marshall also marched in this year's parade.

He will be the force's most senior officer to do so, after Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde marched last year.

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