Canada: police and military to be banned from future events after protesters block Edmonton Pride Festival

Last Saturday Edmonton’s annual Pride Festival march was successfully blocked by protesters unhappy that  the police and military are allowed to join. The blockade, organized by a coalition of queer and trans people of colour and allies, lasted for more than half and hour after around 30 protesters formed a human chain at a road junction shortly after the march begun. They were chanting “Pride for all” and carried signs saying “No pride in police” and “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

The activists handed out leaflets calling for the parade’s organizers to un-invite city police, RCMP [The Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and military members from marching in future parades. The protesters demands also included that the pride organiser “re-structure its board and staff hiring practices to have more representation from people of colour and trans folk; that more well-funded spaces specifically designed for people of colour and trans folk be included in the festival, and that all mainstream pride spaces clearly acknowledge and honour pride’s history as a demonstration against police oppression”.

Following the action, the organizer, Edmonton Pride Festival Society, agreed to all demands. The society said in a statement that it agreed with the demands, and that police and military members would not march in the parade “until the community feels that they have taken the necessary steps for all community members to feel safe with their presence.” The society also committed to “to holding community consultations to determine steps forward for all of these demands, and to determine how the Edmonton Pride Festival Society can best support all communities suffering from systemic racism and oppression.

The Edmonton action follows similar incident from 2016, when Black Lives Matter protesters brought Toronto’s pride parade to a halt and presented a list of demands, including banning uniformed officers from participating in the parade. Toronto Pride then banned uniformed officers from their 2017 events.

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Image: No Justice No Pride