Thousands defy division to gather in city centre for Manchester Day 2017
On a scorching Sunday in central Manchester, over 100,000 people gathered to watch the annual Manchester Day parade.
This year’s event had taken on special significance, considering May’s terror attack at the city’s arena.
The 22,000-strong procession was led by 22 young people. Each of the young people had a balloon representing one of the 22 victims of the bombing.
The group held a banner reading “Manchester remembers 22.05.17”. They were followed by uniformed members of the city’s emergency services, honouring their response to the attack.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham was also among the thousands in attendance. “Today feels very poignant, doesn’t it? People are still thinking about the attack and just coming to terms with it really and the enormity of it.
“But in the worst of times you see the best of people, and we’ve certainly seen what Greater Manchester is all about in the past month.”
The parade featured 80 community groups, ranging from the Manchester Chinese Centre to the trans youth group Afternoon Tea. Also in attendance was the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service. It was watched by the biggest crowd in the event’s history.
“It’s nice to see all the communities from around Manchester,” says Emily Donlevy, 21, a trainee tattoo artist from Bolton. She spent the days following the attack inking the city’s bee symbol onto people to raise money for the victims and their families.
A reassuring presence
Anish Kurien from the Manchester Malayalee Association – a community group for people originally from Kerala in southern India also commented. He was pleased the council decided to go ahead with the day. “After recent events, we really wanted to make a point that we are part of this community and just because some crazy people do things, we don’t approve of that,” he says.
Armed police could be seen patrolling the streets, with some posing for selfies with passers-by. Supt Steve Howard of GMP’s City of Manchester Team said he hoped that the armed officers would provide a “reassuring presence” for people, as well as serving to keep them safe.
Manchester Day was created in 2010 as a celebration of all the communities that live in the city. “We have the Pride parade, we have the Irish parade, we have the St George’s parade, we have about 10 parades every year,” Labour councillor Pat Karney said.