Police at Brighton and Hove's Pride festival have defended their tactics after complaints they had "kettled" people taking part in the parade.
There were allegations on social networking sites that some participants had been penned in because they had political banners.
But police said they had walked at the back of Saturday's parade, as in past years, to "safely manage" the event which is attended by tens of thousands.
By 21:15 BST there had been 24 arrests.
Sussex Police said they were for suspected offences of public disorder, possession of drugs, criminal damage, ABH, affray and theft.
One participant from Queers Against Cuts said her experience of being surrounded by police on horseback and on foot was "unnecessary" and "heavy-handed".
Ch Supt Graham Bartlett said: "I'm aware that there has been a lot of social media talk around the actions of officers who were heading up the back of the parade along with the mounted Thames Valley officers.
"Police officers have always walked at the back in order to distinguish the parade from the rest of the public and to safely manage the parade through the streets to its destination in Preston Park, and to make sure there is a safe distance between the horses and members of the public.
"Those taking part in the parade register with the Pride organisers beforehand and the police assist them in keeping the parade moving and helping prevent it becoming larger and thus less manageable."
Brighton's Pride event is celebrating its 20th year. The event was free until 2010, but was dogged by money problems and complaints about overcrowding and litter.
Revellers turned out in various costumes, including a man dressed as the Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee year.
Trevor Edwards, the director of Pride Brighton and Hove, described the event as the "highlight in the city's cultural calendar for LGBT residents, friends and visitors alike".
The parade was followed by a ticket-only party in Preston Park featuring a set by DJ Fatboy Slim.
X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke had also been due to play but had to cancel because of "technical and production issues" on the site, her PR representative said.