Thousands turn out for Brighton Pride parade

Image caption Thousands lined the streets for Pride's 25th year

A parade to celebrate Pride in Brighton has taken place in front of some 160,000 people lining the streets.

The procession was delayed by 90 minutes after a suspicious package, which police believe was intended to disrupt the event, was discovered.

The event was due to follow a new "high-profile" route that included King's Road, the peace statue, and the city's seafront, organisers said.

But it avoided the seafront alert area and went along Western Road.

Ch Supt Nev Kemp said expert explosives officers detonated the package, found on the seafront, in a controlled explosion. He said this was normal procedure and there was no immediate risk to the public.

The area on the A259 by the bandstand remains evacuated and cordoned off.

BBC reporter Hamish Reid at the scene

Brighton Pride is well known for its fabulous drag queens pushing 7ft tall with legs to die for, and floats of bronzed, buff boys.

Those watching the parade snake through the city include families of all shapes and sizes. No-one cares if you have two mums or two dads - that's what Pride is all about.

One girl is celebrating her first birthday at Pride with her dads. "It feels perfectly natural to be here," one of them tells me.

And Paul Crook, who is there dressed as a circus performer, says he relishes the theme of freedom.

The route from the seafront to the park is lined with thousands of people. Whistles, cheering and disco tracks mask any sounds of seagulls.

The parade arrived two hours later than expected after the security alert, but the crowds were in good spirits. The pubs on the route had helped, I'm sure.

Ch Supt Kemp said: "We believe the item was placed there deliberately and made to look like a suspicious device to disrupt the parade. We have started a criminal investigation.

"We were concerned enough to call in the bomb disposal unit, who after making a further assessment, carried out a controlled explosion. The area had been cordoned off and there was no risk to the public."

He thanked the public and those taking part in the parade for their "support and patience".

Police worked with Pride organisers to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, he added.

Pride is being held in the city for the 25th time this year.

Image copyright Chris Jepson
Image caption The route went through the city instead of along the seafront after the earlier alert

When the new route was announced, organisers said the community parade was going back to its roots, because many past Pride marches had begun at the peace statue.

During the alert, organisers apologised for the delay.

They later tweeted: "And the 25th anniversary parade is off. A little late, but all good things are worth waiting for."

'Celebrate the diversity'

Attractions in the city on Saturday included dance troupes, drag queens and campaigning groups.

Before the event, Paul Kemp, the director of Pride Brighton, said: "It's a celebration and it brings in a lot of people from all over the world.

Image caption The event attracts people from all over the world
Image caption It brings a huge economic boost for the city

"Economically, it's very good for the city and brings in £3.5m.

"Behind the celebrations it highlights LGBT campaigns all over the world. There's a long way to go globally to bring about equality."

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said: "Pride is many things to many people. There are people who are straight who have got families who go along to celebrate the diversity of our city."

Brighton DJ Fatboy Slim played in the Wild Fruit dance tent in Preston Park, and the cabaret tent was hosted by Lola Lasagne.

Other acts appearing included The Human League, Ruby Rose and Ella Henderson.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Part of the seafront remained evacuated and cordoned off

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