Anti-gay preachers arrested at Pride in New Orleans after violent clash with police

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Nine anti-gay preachers were arrested at a Pride event in New Orleans after clashing with police.

Southern Decadence, the annual LGBT festival in New Orleans, draws more than 200,000 people to the city annually.

The latest event is taking place this week, but Saturday’s street party was marred by a clash with homophobic preachers.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, nine people were arrested on suspicion of “aggressive solicitation” after ignoring warnings about their attempts to disrupt the event.

Under city law, the offence of aggressive solicitation includes “approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic”.

Anti-gay preachers arrested at Pride in New Orleans after violent clash with police
(Photo Creative Commons/Jim Hobbs)

One of the protesters, Justin Craft, was arrested on suspicion of battery, resisting an officer and interfering with a law enforcement investigation, after allegedly punching a police officer who had been attempting to confiscate a loudspeaker.

Meanwhile, Patrick O’Connell, Rolando Igleasias, Cesar Chavez, Daniel Hoogerhuis, Danny Guevera, Larry Craft, Montes Diego and Gary Brown were arrested on suspicion of aggressive solicitation.

Hurricanes in 2005 and 2012 were ‘blamed’ on the festival.

Pastor John McTernan claimed: “The church, city and nation have not repented and the homosexual agenda is far worse than it was in 2005.

“New Orleans is still hosting Southern Decadence with open homosexuality manifesting in the streets of the city.

“It could be that God is putting an end to this city and its wickedness. The timing of [the hurricane] with Southern Decadence is a sign that God’s patience with America’s sin is coming to an end.”

American Family Association’s Buster Wilson joined other pastors in linking the festival to natural disasters which hit New Orleans.

He said: “There’s example after example of where people don’t live right, God will come in and literally destroy a place.

“New Orleans has more than its share of decadence. I’m not saying that’s why the hurricane comes, but it does fit a pattern that there is an abundance of in scripture.”

Related: Ann Coulter is just wondering whether gay sex caused Hurricane Harvey