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Queer activists stage ‘die in’ at Pride in London to protest police presence

Patrick Kelleher July 3, 2022
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A general view during Pride in London 2022: The 50th Anniversary at Trafalgar Square on July 02, 2022 in London, England.

A general view during Pride in London 2022: The 50th Anniversary at Trafalgar Square on July 02, 2022 in London, England. (Tristan Fewings/Getty)

An LGBTQ+ activist group staged a “die in” at Pride in London, halting the parade for 23 minutes in protest against police being allowed to march.

Forty activists from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants staged the demonstration on Saturday (2 July). Dressed all in black and wearing pink veils, protesters lay on the ground and blocked marchers from the Metropolitan Police from proceeding.

Other activists held up banners with messages such as “no pride in cops” and “no pride in borders”. Meanwhile, members of the group chanted instructions to those in attendance on how they can intervene in a police stop and search.

The demonstration went on for 23 minutes to draw attention to the number of people who have died in Metropolitan Police custody since the end of 2020.

Police ‘endanger our communities’, activist group says

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants is calling for police to be prevented from marching at Pride in London in the future.

“50 years ago LGBTQ+ people came together with a desire to overhaul the status quo and the belief that a better, kinder world is possible,” Sam Björn, spokesperson for Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, said in a statement.

While we welcome Pride in London’s acknowledgement of police violence no amount of glitter can wash those stories away, and we won’t let them.

“We protested [on Saturday] because the police endanger our communities. They detain children of colour, rape women and arrest those of us at the sharpest end of society. Straight or gay, in matching rainbow t-shirts or in uniform, that has to change.”

Björn continued: “While we welcome Pride in London’s acknowledgement of police violence no amount of glitter can wash those stories away, and we won’t let them.

“50 years ago a Pride that looks like the one we see in London today seemed like an impossible dream. 50 years from now we know that we’ll be dancing in the streets celebrating a world free from police and their violence.”

On Friday (1 July), Pride in London said uniformed police officers should avoid marching in its parade in a last-minute U-turn as backlash mounted.

However, police officers were still permitted to march – as long as they did so in plain clothes.

Activists have been calling for police to be banned from Pride for some time

Debate has been raging for years about whether police should have a place at Pride marches.

Pride in London is just one of the major Pride events across the world which has faced backlash for allowing police to march.

In June, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants erected posters along the Pride route bearing the message “No pride in cops”. Just days earlier, it was announced that the Met was facing a fresh investigation by the police watchdog over its investigation into serial killer Stephen Port, who murdered four gay men.

Speaking to PinkNews ahead of Pride in London, Sam Björn said they have never been in doubt that the police “are corrupt, racist, homophobic and have no place in a Pride parade”.

Days before the march, the activist group published an open letter to Pride in London calling for police to be excluded from the march. It was co-signed by the Gay Liberation Front, ACT UP London, Channel Rescue and Bender Defenders.

“Due to our deep-rooted concerns with policing – and the history of Pride itself as resistance against police violence – it is time to end the practice of police participation in Pride each year,” the letter said.

 

 

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