The organisers of the Foyle Pride Festival last night said they were delighted at the support of the public for the event.
The parade, attended by thousands of people, was the culmination of the festival and included colourful banners and flags as it made its way from Duke Street to a rally at Guildhall Square.
The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Martin Reilly gave his support to the festival and marched at the head of Saturday’s parade carrying colourful letters spelling out ‘Foyle Pride.’
Political parties, community groups, trade unions and health organisations also took part in the parade in support of members of the gay community.
The organisers of the festival said they were delighted with the public response and thanked everyone who took part.
Joe Carlin, chair of the Foyle Pride Festival committee said: “We are absolutely delighted at the level of public support for the programme and the parade in particular. We are really appreciative of everyone who took part and of all the groups who came out to support us.
“We had the Public Health Agency, the Equality Commission, and the various political parties who were there to represent and support the LGBT community. I would also like to thank the Mayor, Martin Reilly, for his incredible support for Foyle Pride,” he said.
Mr Carlin also said the festival has become an important annual event in the city. “Foyle Pride has always been a welcoming event. It does not matter what your background is. One thing I was particularly pleased about this year was the involvement of Christian groups who came along and said they wanted to support us,” he said.
The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) in Derry congratulated the organisers and those who took part in the Pride Festival.
IRSP spokesperson Dee Robinson said: “Events like this are essential in destroying the existing negative social stereotype, created by the Catholic Church and right-wing reactionaries, that allows homophobia to thrive on our Island.”
“Since its inception the IRSP has supported equality for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people beginning with the party’s first Ard Fheis in 1975, when it became the first political party in Ireland to support gay rights,” he said.
A number of Derry landmarks were temporarily transformed to mark the festival. Free Derry Corner was painted pink and the Guildhall clock was illuminated with pink lights for the weekend.