Pride in London got underway on Saturday afternoon as Piccadilly Circus was lit up with the LGBT rainbow flag.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pushed a giant plunger to illuminate the iconic landmark, which was filled with the faces of the volunteers who give up their time to arrange the event.
The screens were also used to highlight images of Pride from previous years and to air Pride in London’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow advert.
The annual parade celebrates LGBT rights and last year it attracted more than 26,000 people. This year the figure is expected to top 30,000, with a further one million expected to line the route despite clashing with England’s World Cup quarter final match with Sweden this afternoon.
Stonewall pulled out of this year’s festival saying it had concerns about the event’s “lack of diversity”.
The charity said it will instead extend support to UK Black Pride, an event for LGBT people from ethnic minorities that also takes place every year in the capital.
The decision comes after Pride’s organisers rejected concerns raised by its advisory board last year that it was not inclusive enough for non-white communities.