POLICE HAVE TO EARN THE RIGHT TO MARCH AT PRIDE PARADE
Pride parade was halted last weekend by protesters who wanted the parade’s governing body to ban police, military and RCMP members from marching.
After half an hour, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society agreed to the demands, which also included a request for more diverse representation on the group’s board.
The move is an echo of the 2015 protest by Black Lives Matter Toronto who, resplendent in gold and black, stopped the city’s massive parade to issue a number of demands. Of the requests, the one about police got the most attention and shook Pride Toronto’s organizing body.
For people used to a corpozation
rate-friendly Pride, Black Lives Matter Toronto’s insistence that police presence made queer events less safe for many community members was a novel idea. For Black, Indigenous, trans and racialized people, having police in Pride didn’t mark progress but rather created fear.
The conversation they sparked has clearly spread across the country.
In Halifax, police said they would not march in uniform.
In St. John’s, police were initially banned from wearing their uniforms but the organiedmonton’s
reversed course after consulting with some community groups. (Although a request for a police apology related to a bathroom sting triggered a mass resignation, suggesting it’s not all roses within St. John’s Pride.)
In Ottawa, Capital Pride’s request for police to leave their uniforms and cars at home was initially rebuffed, but police have since acquiesced.
In Calgary, Vancouver and
Winnipeg, police may march — but not in uniform.
All of which signals — at the very least — a willingness, even if it remains contentious, to listen to the community.
IN SOME CITIES, POLICE MAY MARCH — BUT NOT IN UNIFORM.
A protest halted the Pride parade in Edmonton on Saturday. Protests like this are becoming commonplace at Pride parades in Canadian cities, sparking conversation nationwide.
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