St. John's Pride Parade asks for police officers not to walk in uniform
Organizers with the St. John's Pride Parade have asked some off-duty police officers not to walk in uniform in the city's upcoming march.
The group said in a Facebook post early Saturday morning that they asked the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary not to send off-duty police officers to the event in uniform, but instead as "off-duty community allies."
"Ideally not in uniform — as to better showcase strong police support of the LGBTQ community as individuals, and make the Parade more accessible to all," organizers said on Facebook.
"We suggested police officers could represent their unit in other ways, such as wearing T-shirts or carrying banners."
The RNC said in their own statement that they'd respect that request, but Pride organizers now say there may have been "miscommunication" between the two sides.
The Pride Parade organizers said on Saturday that everyone is in fact welcome to march in next Sunday's event, and they never meant to discourage police visibility.
"This request was not meant to inhibit any police presence, but to welcome and encourage police officers to attend while not on duty," they wrote.
"The Pride Parade has always been an open invitation event to anyone."
Organizers did not return requests for comment from the CBC. A spokesperson said the RNC was unavailable to speak on Saturday.
Police patrol going ahead
The Constabulary said they'd follow organizers' requests and not send uniformed officers to march in the upcoming Parade.
However, police will patrol the parade as planned on July 17.
The Constabulary has participated in pride parades in the past, and has launched advertising campaigns promoting their ties to the LGBT community.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBT?src=hash">#TBT</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThrowbackThursday?src=hash">#ThrowbackThursday</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pride?src=hash">#Pride</a> 2014. Here's to hoping for a day half as nice as we had last year for the parade! <a href="http://t.co/vPeKqE5ljR">pic.twitter.com/vPeKqE5ljR</a>—@RNC_PoliceNL
"[We] will continue to offer our support for Traffic Services as we always do, but unfortunately will be a less visible component of the parade aside from traffic support," police said on Saturday.
Pride organizers said they were planning to speak to both the RCMP and RNC to clear up any confusion.