Anger as St Patrick's Day march excludes Irish gay activists

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The Independent Online
THE ST Patrick's Day celebrations in New York are again sparking confrontations with gay and lesbian activists who for years have fought unsuccessfully to join the march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue honouring the Irish saint.

The march, to be held tomorrow, is one of the city's largest public events. A march on Sunday through parts of the Bronx, a precursor to tomorrow's main event, was marred by the arrest of six gay and lesbian marchers, two of them elected officials. All six, members of the Lavender and Green Alliance, were charged with disorderly conduct before being released.

Meanwhile, the bomb squad was brought in to search St Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue during morning services, after congregation members spotted several electronic devices planted around the pews. They were modified alarm clocks designed to flash: "Wake up Homophobia".

Among those arrested in the Bronx was Tom Duane, a New York state senator. "I'm an Irish person. I'm a gay person. I'm here to try to march," he said.

Other cities across the US staged marches without incident. In Chicago, the river through the city centre was dyed green according to a tradition going back four decades.

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