RAINBOW flags, colourful confetti, flower garlands, glitter and bubbles....Glasgow took to the streets yesterday to celebrate its pride in proclaiming the right to sexual equality.

An estimated 5,000 took part in what was billed as Glasgow's biggest ever Pride with the annual procession – involving campaigners and allies, major companies, emergency services, drummers and representatives from the army – taking well over an hour to wind its way through the city streets. Organisers claimed up to 50,000 people lined the streets to watch.

The colourful parade, which also featured dogs in rainbow tutus, a brass band, home-made banners, rainbow decorated buggies and far-out fancy dress, kicked off the two-day LGBTI festival, which is being held at Glasgow Green.

Companies taking part included major supermarkets and energy suppliers and people came from all over Scotland and beyond.

Wearing a colourful flower garland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told crowds at Glasgow Green: "Love is Love, wherever you are and whoever you are."

She added, "We must not be passive, but continually strive to advance LGBTI equality. My pledge as your First Minister today is this: as long as I hold this office we will continue to do everything we need to do to make sure Scotland is not just one of the best countries in the world, but the best country in the world for LGBTI rights. I am determined that my government will do all it can to celebrate diversity in everything we say and do."

Anita Taylor, 63 from Hertfordshire, said she was attending with her friend to support a family member. "We are just thrilled to be here for this," she said. "It's wonderful to be see everyone able to get out there and be proud of who they are."

Nicole Law and Lois Gibson, both 16 and wrapped in large rainbow flags, had travelled from Dundee and Blairgowrie to attend their first Pride and were struck by the incredible atmosphere. "We've loved it," said Law. "It's an important thing to celebrate."

Grant Gillian, 29 from Greenock and James Beattie, 31, from Glasgow said that while huge progress had already been made in their lifetimes there was still work to be done. "It's great to see so many major companies here, " added Gillian, although the pair noted the lack of visibility of any of the major religions. "It's cheering but there is still a long way to go. It's also generational so it will change in time."