Black Lives Matter protesters shut down Toronto’s gay pride parade Sunday to protest its lack of inclusion, while demanding police floats no longer be featured.
A Black Lives Matter group shut down the parade around 3:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, reports The National Post. The group led a float at the front of the parade, but halfway through the event, BLM activists stopped and refused to move until Pride Toronto agreed to a list of demands. Various members of Black Lives Matter lit flares and chanted “Shut it down!”
The demands claimed that Pride Toronto did not respected the “black trans community” and that Pride needed to recognize the “tense/unsafe relationship between the police and marginalized communities.” Black Lives Matter demanded the parade no longer feature any police floats, and that Pride officials hire and prioritize more “black trans women, indigenous folk, and others from vulnerable communities.”
Pride Director Mathieu Chantelois agreed to the demands after a half an hour, and the parade restarted.
The head of the Toronto police union, Mike McCormack , tweeted Sunday that Pride should be ashamed for giving into the demands of Black Lives Matter.
Alexandria Williams, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Toronto, told the Washington Times that the group planned to protest the parade from the beginning.
“When we accepted this year’s Honoured Group status from Pride Toronto, it was with the clear intention of using this platform to address what is a historical and current culture of anti-Blackness deeply embedded in the Festival. If they truly want to honour us, they can accept these demands,” Williams said in a statement.
Pride Toronto released a statement after the parade, saying it desires to be more inclusive.
“During the parade, BLM-TO started a conversation with us to explore how we can create an even more inclusive and safe festival. We, like BLM-TO, have a commitment to ensure our most marginalized communities feel safe and welcome at the festival,” Pride Toronto said in a statement.
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