Birmingham Pride will go ahead this weekend despite Manchester bomb attack
Police have assured the LGBT community that Birmingham Pride can go ahead as planned this weekend.
Security has been stepped up at large-scale events across the UK, after the shocking attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena last night.
22 people were killed in the nail-bombing attack, which has been claimed by the so-called Islamic State.
Ahead of Saturday’s Birmingham Pride parade, organisers have assured the local community that their event will go ahead.
West Midlands Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray Alex Murray said: “Birmingham plays host to Pride this weekend and we’re expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the city.
“This is an annual event with a parade, music and festivities which are enjoyed by many.
“I appreciate that people planning to attend may feel a sense of nervousness – I would like to take this opportunity to give you some reassurance that a full policing operation is in place and is subject to ongoing reviews.
“We will have a large number of police officers, specials and police staff on hand to keep the public safe –this isn’t only for the Pride event, but also for anyone visiting the city to enjoy all it has to offer.”
Some within the local LGBT community had expressed fears that they will be targeted, in the wake of the attack on Orlando’s gay Pulse nightclub last year.
Writing on the Birmingham Pride Facebook, a local said: “I’m seriously debating not going.
“I know its probably just paranoia and you shouldn’t let terror win, but I feel like I’m putting myself in a potentially dangerous position, at an event for people despised by extremists at a time when they are bragging that there is more to come.”
However, others vowed to go ahead.
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One commenter wrote: “Terrorist scum you will not beat us now or ever, we stand as one and will fight back. I’m going gay pride, no scum is gonna stop me from enjoying an amazing event. #WeStandWithManchester.”
It is the second year in a row that Pride events take place in the shadow of terrorism. Security was stepped up last year for Pride events in the wake of the Orlando attack.
Then-Metropolitan police chief Sir Bernard Hogan Howe spoke to PinkNews last year about potential terror threats to the LGBT community.
He said: “We’ve got no intelligence to say that someone is going to attack [Pride] or any of the businesses here in this area, but it’s a good time to stop, and work out if what’s going on in America means anything for what’s happening here.
“We know we’ve got the biggest gay business group in Europe here in Soho, so we want to make sure we reassure people, and also tell the gay community what they can do to protect themselves.
“We don’t think there’s any particular threat to this community here in London, or to the Pride march… but it would be really foolish to not sit down and talk about it and make sure our security measures are in the right place.”