29 August 2017
Derry Pride calls for equality for LGBT community
Marriage equality is still being blocked by unionist fundamentalists, most notably in the DUP
FOR the many hundreds of people who took part in the colourful Pride parade in Derry last Saturday, their demand for equality echoed the same message made by the Civil Rights marchers whose route from Duke Street almost 50 years ago was barred by the Royal Ulster Constabulary acting on the orders of the then unionist regime.
And while the violence of 5 October 1968 is a distant memory, the fact that marriage equality is still being blocked by unionist fundamentalists, most notably in the DUP, is proof of a conservative mindset where the rights of citizens are dismissed.
Another sign of the changed times we live in was in the policing operation in place for the parade. The low-key PSNI presence saw police vehicles sporting Pride colours and officers exchanging greetings with marchers.
● Martina Anderson MEP and Elisha McCallion MP pass a PSNI vehicle “Policing with Pride”
The carnival atmosphere was also evident with the many onlookers who lined the streets as the procession made its way across the Craigavon Bridge, through the city centre and into Guildhall Square via Shipquay Street.
Organisers believe the march was the biggest-ever Pride parade in Derry with support from all political parties – except, of course, the unionists.
Speaking on behalf of the Sinn Féin contingent, Foyle MP Elisha McCallion reinforced the party’s calls for marriage equality and an end to homophobic attacks on the LGBT community.
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An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures