Protesters Disrupt DC Pride Parade [VIDEO]

The Washington Post reports:

The D.C. Capital Pride Parade was disrupted by protesters Saturday who say the event is too corporate and marginalizes minorities and the very community the tradition was created to celebrate.

Protesters from No Justice No Pride linked arms to block the parade route near 15th and P streets in Northwest Washington about 5:30 p.m. With a pink, turquoise and yellow banner stretched across the street, the protesters shouted “What side are my people? What side are you on?” and “No justice, no pride.”

Police formed two lines around the group and allowed them to continue protesting while the parade was rerouted down 16th Street toward Rhode Island Avenue. Police Chief Peter Newsham was on the scene and said officers made no arrests.

The disruption upset paradegoers, who yelled back to the protesters, “Shame! Shame!” “I fought for 20 years for this, and now you’re going to ruin the parade,” one man said.

The protesters published a statement as the disruption began. An excerpt:

DC’s queer and trans community is no longer willing to accept that Pride isn’t possible without support from deeply problematic corporate sponsors. Capital Pride has consistently demonstrated that it is more interested in accommodating the interests of Metropolitan police and of corporate sponsors than it is in supporting the very communities it supposedly represents.

Because of the current political climate and in response to years of being dismissed and ignored by Capital Pride, members of Washington, DC’s queer and trans community took direct action on Saturday, June 10, blocking the Capital Pride parade.

Similar to other protests at Pride events around the country, members of No Justice No Pride, an ad-hoc coalition of local organizers, brought the parade to halt, offering a different vision for what LGBTQ Pride looks like and demanding that the Capital Pride board bar the participation of institutions that harm LGBTQ2S communities, specifically naming metropolitan police as well as corporations who profit from pipelines and war.

“We deserve to celebrate Pride without being forced alongside the Police who kill us,” says Angela Peoples, one of the participants. “Pride should be a haven for the entire LGBTQ community. The Capital Pride Board has shown who it’s prioritizing. No Justice No Pride is for everyone who has previously been excluded and for a different vision of what this event could and should be.”

“Capital Pride’s list of sponsors reads like a who’s who of Native genocide: FBI, NSA, CIA, Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Federal Bureau of Prisons,” explains Jen Deerinwater, a participant with No Justice No Pride and two spirit member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

“Capital Pride’s Board members claim that the Dakota Access Pipeline and America’s neglect and abuse of Native people aren’t issues that impact the LGBTQ2S community. But I am a member of both the Queer and Native communities. Do the lives of LGBTQ2S Natives not matter? These institutions have wreaked havoc on Indigenous communities through pollution and theft of our sacred lands and the criminalization of our very beings.”

My group was among tens of thousands along P Street when the protest began. The first few contingents of the parade passed by normally and then after about 40 minutes of an empty street, an announcement was made that the parade had been rerouted.

Many headed up the street to the new location but it seemed that an equally large number decided to simply call it a day. Folks at other points along the route apparently were unaware that anything had happened. Several friends who were marching abandoned their groups in frustration after hours of waiting to step off.