A national gay youth group has complained about scenes at Manchester Pride last weekend.
The event was a 78-hour extravaganza of music, film, heritage and culture.
It consisted of a parade, a HIV vigil and a Gay Village packed full of venues that offered a score of non-stop entertainment.
The furore is centred around the price of the Gay Village tickets, which cost £20.
Protesters from Queer Youth Network claim that their free speech was undermined by the festival director, Jackie Crozier.
They claim she tried to seize a placard which read “Pride not Profit.”
David Henry of the UK’s national LGBT youth organisation accused organisers of an “ongoing attempt to silence public criticism” of the event.
“They are acting like crazed control freaks, the city council don’t want us to raise awareness around several major concerns they would rather ignore, collectively this year’s sponsors pretty much own all the gay media and local media,” he added.
Several pride participants unveiled more banners which read ‘Too poor to be gay’ and ‘Save the gay centre.’
However, Ms Crozier told PinkNews.co.uk:
“Manchester Pride is responsible for ensuring the content of the parade is in keeping with its position as a peaceful and celebratory march and this year was no different.
“No entrants were asked to withdraw any aspect of their promotional material and the parade was, as always, an understanding platform for all of us to raise awareness and promote equality for the LGBT community,” she added.
Queer Youth Network claims that Manchester Pride is becoming an exclusively commercial event.
“Pride is losing touch with what it was originally meant to be,” said Jack Holroyde, the group’s campaigns director.
“The event is meant to be a celebration of our sexuality.
“A ticket charge means that young people and other underrepresented groups can’t get into Pride,” he said.
“It seems to be very one-sided and rarely do we see trans, BME (black and multi-ethnic) or young people there,” he added.
The youth group are pushing the local council for a bursary that would allow under-represented groups a chance to attend the Gay Village festivities.
In 2007 Manchester Pride raised £95,000 for LGF Free Condoms and Lube Scheme, GHT HIV Welfare Fund, Manchester Pride Community Fund and Manchester Pride HIV/AIDS fund.
Manchester Pride is one of the longest running in the country and attracts thousands of visitors to the city’s Gay Village each year.