Rival abortion parades at same time in city

The pro-choice rally in Belfast City Centre on Saturday

The pro-choice rally in Belfast City Centre on Saturday

Rival parades took place in Belfast on Saturday where supporters turned out to demonstrate their opposing stances on the abortion debate.

The Rally for Choice started at 1pm at Buoy Park near St Anne’s Cathedral and marched through the city centre. Spokeswoman Ruth Davis said: “It is not acceptable that Stormont continues to ignore this issue while women and pregnant people are suffering because of this law.”

Rally for Choice was established in the summer of 2011, a cross community group of pro-choice activists who advocate for relaxation of the law in Northern Ireland to make provisions for “free, safe and legal access to abortion”.

Meanwhile the 10th annual All-Ireland Rally for Life began at 2pm at Custom House Square. The theme was “personhood begins at conception” - affirming that everyone has value regardless of whether they have a disability.

Spokeswoman Bernadette Smyth, said: “There is mounting pressure on Stormont and the Dail to legalise abortion of unborn babies with disabilities.” She added: “Our pro-life laws, both north and south, recognise the personhood of the unborn child and the people of Ireland don’t want that to change.”