East End Gay Pride cancelled
East End Gay Pride has been cancelled, the organisers have announced.
In a statement this morning, they blamed “personal attacks” and a “personal vendetta” against them by local gay campaigners.
The march was due to be held on April 2nd as a response to anti-gay stickers plastered around London’s East End.
But it quickly became controversial, as local groups Rainbow Hamlets and Out East accused the march of being a front of the English Defence League (EDL) and claimed that it would cause tensions between gay people and Muslims in the area.
Yesterday, one organiser, Raymond Berry, resigned after gay Muslim group Imaan revealed he had been a founding member of the EDL, a far-right group.
Imaan said it was about to publish evidence to show that other organisers had “right wing and fascistic associations”, although organiser Mark Bourne said that they were simply “patriotic”.
Today’s statement from Mr Bourne, Caroline Todd, Alan Jones and David Byatt says: “It is with deep regret that the East End Gay Pride Team have collectively decided to cancel the march on April 2nd.
“With the events of the last few days coming about, we have found it extremely difficult to deal with the copious amount of personal attacks that are coming mostly from Terry Stewart of OutEast and Jack Gilbert and Rebecca Shaw of Rainbow Hamlets.
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“These individuals have been attacking EEGP from the very beginning, even though OutEast and Rainbow Hamlets, along with Imaan and several other ‘community groups’, were invited to help create the event from day one.”
It continued: “The entire EEGP team had nothing but good intentions for this event from the offset. We planned to make it a fun march with no hatred being shown. We are stepping down from this event because of the personal vendetta from OutEast and Rainbow Hamlets to name but a few.
“We would like to thank our supporters for standing beside us in these times and urge you to stand up against hatred within the LGBT community as well as hatred from outside of any form.”
This morning, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called for the march to be postponed and said he was withdrawing his support for it.
Pride London had supported the march but said yesterday it had been “misled” by Mr Berry, who had not declared his past support for the controversial group.
A spokesman said Pride London remained “committed to assisting any such event” without Mr Berry.