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Pride Toronto bans police from parade after Black Lives Matter dispute

Nick Duffy January 18, 2017

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3: Ken Leppert (L) of the Ontario Provincial Police, speaks with colleagues at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make history as the first Canadian PM to march in the parade. (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)

Pride Toronto has voted to ban LGBT police from participating in this year’s Pride parade, after a highly controversial clash with Black Lives Matter protesters.

In July last year, the Canadian city’s Pride parade ground to an unexpected halt when Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted the event, refusing to let the march continue until organisers agreed to a string of demands.

The group, who criticised the event’s alleged “anti-blackness”, only agreed to let the parade continue when Pride Toronto organisers signed a “contract” that commits to more funding for minority events and the removal of police floats at future Prides.

At Pride Toronto’s AGM this week, a vote on the demands was held, with board members narrowly deciding to agree to ban the police from marching in uniform or have a float or stall.

Individual police officers will be able to march, but not in uniform.

Despite the ban, board co-chair Alica Hall told the Toronto Sun that “of course” pride organisers will still accept free security for the event  provided by the police force.

The vote came after Pride Toronto engaged in a “Dispute Resolution Process” involving the protesters, apologising for “a history of anti-blackness… that our organisation has continued”.

A previous statement from Pride Toronto said: “We apologise that the lack of decisive decision-making has left many in our communities feeling attacked. This is the opposite of what Pride is all about. There has been an unbelievable amount of racism expressed by members of our community through this organisation.”

They added: “When we received these demands – we understood that they are reflective of a long and difficult history between Pride and Black queer communities, but now also understand them to be reflective of our current efforts, or lack thereof, to improve relationships with Pride’s black community, and other marginalised communities.

“For this lack of understanding, effort to address historic wrongs, and repetition of past mistakes, we are sorry.

“Pride Toronto remains committed to all of the demands agreed to and presented by BLMTO.”

More: Americas, anti-black, Black, black lives matter, BLM, Canada, Canada, Gay, homophobic, LGBT, Pride, Pride Toronto, racist, Toronto

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