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Boston’s Straight Pride parade heavily outnumbered by counter-protesters

Emma Powys Maurice September 1, 2019

Parade participants marching in the Boston Straight Pride Parade and Rally organised by Super Happy Fun America on August 31, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. Paul Marotta/Getty)

Boston’s Straight Pride marchers found themselves outnumbered by over 1,000 counter-protestors who “drowned out” their planned anti-gay speeches.

The application for the march permit indicates organisers expected up to 2,000 people to join the right-wing event. But The Guardian reported that only a few hundred Straight Pride supporters attended and were ‘dwarfed’ by pro-LGBT+ crowds.

The parade was organised by Super Happy Fun America, an activist group with several ties to far-right and white nationalist organisations.

The group say they are “committed to creating spaces for people of all identities to embrace the vibrancy of the straight community.”

As they marched under signs reading ‘It’s Great To Be Straight’ and ‘Make Normalcy Normal Again’, they were revealed to be far from the “oppressed majority” they claim to be.

The mile-long procession was flanked by hundreds of counter-protestors shouting “Shame on you”, “Boston hates you”, and “Alt right, get off our streets, no justice, no peace.”

Homes and businesses along the parade route also displayed messages of support for the LGBT+ community from windows and doorways.

Counter-protesters rally against anti-gay sentiment in their city (Paul Marotta/Getty)
Counter-protesters rally against anti-gay sentiment in their city (Paul Marotta/Getty)

Many of the conservative-aligned marchers wore ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and accompanied floats declaring their support for Donald Trump, with signs such as ‘build the wall,’ ‘Trump nation’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter.’

Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” blasted from speakers on a float covered with American flags. According to local news, some “puzzled” tourists thought the event was actually a Trump rally.

BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick said that as the parade approached City Hall Plaza it quickly began to “dissolve” and fights were breaking out “all over.”

Several protesters claimed police used mace and pepper spray to control the crowd. Boston Police confirmed 36 people were arrested and four police officers were injured during clashes.

Tweeting from the march, Broderick said: “After about an hour of confusion, about 75 remaining parade-goers are trying to give speeches in City Hall Plaza.

“About 700 counter-protesters outside are drowning them out. Can’t hear anything.”

Super Happy Fun America’s Mark Sahady and John Hugo (l-r) speaking onstage (Paul Marotta/Getty)

The Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians protested near City Hall by playing trumpets, trombones, and drums.

Shouting from the stage, parade organiser Mark Sahady declared: “Today, we are showing them that their hate cannot stop us! We shall overcome. Free speech!”

The march was widely condemned by Boston officials, including Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who said the event “is not any representation of who we are as a city.”

US Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged those unable to join counter-protests to show their support for the LGBT+ community by donating to the activists’ bail fund.

 

More: alt-right, Boston, straight pride

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