A few thousand march as London Pride shows its colours
A week after a pride event in London was disrupted in an incident that ended in charges, London showed its true colours Sunday with a joyful, peaceful pride parade that involved a few thousand people.
An estimated 2,000 people marched in Sunday's parade, the first to take place in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event began at the Western Fair District before rolling through Old East Village and ending at Victoria Park.
Last week a pride event at the Green in Wortley Village was disrupted by a man who honked his horn and confronted participants. A man was charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and causing a disturbance by shouting.
But there was no sign of that Sunday as marchers in colourful attire danced, sang, and tossed candy to crowds who lined the parade route.
Eric Knight is a London Pride organizer. He said the parade and the rest of the pride events are an important symbol of solidarity in a year in which pride flags were removed from lamp posts in Norwich.
"We're marching because it creates awareness for the community and it also just validates who we are as a community," he said. "Everybody matters, no matter what colour they are or what their sexual orientation is. It's a great way to celebrate."
Yeshua, a two-spirited individual who uses only one name, was part of a native pride group joining the parade.
"In our culture, two-spirited people have always been accepted, because we're able to walk both side of the road, male or female," they said. "We're here, we're queer and we love it. Peace and love, we want everybody to have that and push out all the darkness in this world."
London Police Chief Steve Williams was one of a few dozen officers who joined the parade. He said the Wortley incident was a one-off, and not reflective of London's attitude toward pride.
"It's going to be a safe, fun event," said Williams. "I have every reason to believe it will be a good day."
Williams police had "a robust plan in place" to deal with any problems. Police told CBC News after the parade concluded that there were no incidents.
The head of the parade as it rolls through <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/oev?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#oev</a>. There’s got to be almost 2,000 people taking part <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/londonpride2022?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#londonpride2022</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ont?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ont</a> <a href="https://t.co/mWZ9tKJEaW">pic.twitter.com/mWZ9tKJEaW</a>—@AndrewLuptonCBC
Sunday's events will conclude with a celebration and music concerts at Victoria Park, including a performance by punk icon Bif Naked.