Thousands party at Brighton Pride in East Sussex

Revellers at Pride
Image caption Brighton Pride is celebrated its 19th birthday this year

Tens of thousands of revellers have descended upon Brighton for this year's Pride festivities.

The festival attracts people from across the world and is one of the biggest events in the city's calendar.

For the first time, the main part of the festival taking place at Preston Park is a fenced and ticketed event.

A parade set off from the seafront at Madeira Drive at 11:00 BST and headed towards Preston Park, arriving shortly after 14:00 BST.

Deputy Chief Constable Giles York was among 50 police officers, staff and members of the Gay Police Association taking part in the parade.

X Factor winners Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke are due to perform at this year's event.

Sussex Police has deployed extra officers around the city to deal with anti-social behaviour and ensure the safety of spectators.

A spokesman said four people had been arrested but there had been "no serious issues".

Illegal raves

Two people were held on suspicion of criminal damage, two for public order offences and one for drug offences, he said.

The force has also warned people planning illegal raves not to come to the city.

The force said while people were welcome to use the beach for picnics and informal gatherings, large sound systems could be confiscated.

Image caption The festival began in the city as a gay protest in the early 1970s

Ch Supt Graham Bartlett said: "Although we recognise that people come to Brighton to have a good time at Pride, we have every intention of preventing any unlawful outdoor events which are likely to cause a nuisance."

A party is also taking place in St James's Street from about 18:00 BST with events finishing around midnight.

Road closures are in place along the route of the parade and bus services will be affected.

The festival began in the city as a gay protest in the early 1970s.

Last summer's celebrations were the biggest in its 19-year history, with more than 160,000 people taking part in the free event.

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