Thousands attend Northern Ireland centenary parade

Tens of thousands of people are gathering in Belfast on Saturday to celebrate the centenary of Northern Ireland.

The event had been due to take place last year but was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Lambeg drumming, food stalls and speeches are all planned, as thousands of people take to the streets of the city to mark 100 years since partition as part of parade organised by the Orange Order.

Thousands more spectators are gathering to watch the parade, with a few attendees arriving as early as 9am along the route into the city centre.

Large crowds were at Stormont earlier for speeches at Parliament Buildings before the parade made its way into Belfast city centre along Prince of Wales Avenue and the Upper Newtownards Road.

The PSNI has warned ahead of Saturday that the parade will likely cause delays and diversions for motorists in and around the city.

Some shops and businesses are also expected to close early to avoid the disruption.

Members of the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland, as well as the Junior Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, the Royal Black Institution and the Apprentice Boys of Derry, will join the event.

Orangemen and women from England and Scotland are also expected to attend.

Unionist politicians are set to join the event, including Democratic Unionist Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie.

Mr Beattie called the event "truly historic".

"It was unfortunate that the Covid-19 pandemic delayed celebration plans, but it is testament to the leadership and members of the Orange Order that this parade is now proceeding."