Black Lives Matter protesters disrupt Toronto Pride parade, claim event is ‘anti-black’
Protesters from activist group Black Lives Matter disrupted Toronto Pride over the weekend, grinding the parade to a halt.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau made history on Sunday by becoming the first Prime Minister to march in Toronto’s Pride parade, with thousands taking to the streets for the celebrations.
However, the Parade ground to an unexpected halt when Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted the event, refusing to let the LGBT march continue.
The group staged a sit-in over the event’s alleged “anti-blackness”, and only agreed to leave after half an hour when Pride Toronto organisers agreed to a series of demands, including the removal of police floats.
Black Lives Matter Toronto bragged on Twitter: “We shut it down. We won. #blackpride”
The decision to target an LGBT Pride parade – which included several tributes to victims of the Orlando massacre – has led to heavy criticism of BLM group from ethnic minority LGBT groups.
In a statement, the group explained: “Protesters are challenging Pride’s anti-Blackness in structural and financial decisions”.
Among BLM’s demands are commitments to funding for minority events, the “removal of police floats in Pride marches”, and Pride Toronto hiring more black trans women and black sign language interpreters.
Some members of the LGBT community slammed the group’s actions and “hypocritical, ridiculous and overbearing” demands, including the “abhorrent” demands that gay police officers be banned from marching in uniform.
The group hit back on Facebook after criticism of its actions.
They wrote: “Apparently to some, our demands are ‘too radical/divisive’. Look for yourselves fam.
“Ya’ll quick to forget Pride was a riot. Or that it was the bodies, organising brilliance, and hearts of Black, Latinx, & Brown people and communities that created Pride.”
A spokesperson for Pride Toronto said the agreement had only been signed to get the parade moving again, and that no decision had been made on the group’s demand that police be banned from marching. Pride Toronto is continuing discussions with both BLM and Toronto Police.
In Istanbul two weeks ago, a group of trans activists staged a small Pride celebration, but were quickly shut down by police who used tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue the crowd.