Pride Toronto events to go on as planned with increased security following Orlando attack
Executive Director of Pride Toronto says 2016 parade will be dedicated to victims of mass shooting
The plan for 2016 Pride Toronto will not be altered in response to the deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Florida, but the month-long festival will have increased security, the organization's Executive Director has confirmed.
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Mathieu Chantelois spoke to reporters on Monday following a security review meeting with Toronto Police and the RCMP.
"Nothing that is planned will change. Everything that we had in mind for this month will happen," Chantelois said. "The threat is there, but we will not let fears get in the way of what we do."
Staff from the Prime Minister's office also attended the meeting. Organizers say Justin Trudeau will be the first sitting Prime Minister to march in the annual parade, which takes place July 3rd.
No plan for more uniformed officers
Chantelois told reporters the plan for beefed-up security during Pride month is still being worked out and he could not reveal many details.
But he said there will not be a higher number of uniformed officers, something organizers wish to avoid due to the relationship some members of the LGBT community have with law enforcement.
Concern following incidents in US
Monday's security review was called in response to heightened safety concerns in the wake of the deadly attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In an unrelated incident, also on Sunday, police in Southern California arrested a heavily armed man who told them he was on his way to the Los Angeles pride parade.
Next month's parade in Toronto will be dedicated to victims of the Orlando attack, Chantelois said.
"In their honour, we will have a minute of silence. All the names will be part of the parade as well and they will be part of everything that we do. They will be in our heart. They will be in our mind."
While the celebratory nature of Pride has taken on a more somber tone in the wake of the shooting, the Pride Toronto head said all events will go ahead as planned.
"We will dance in the streets and we will dance in the clubs," Chantelois said. "We're planning to go as big as we can go."