Police stop group of LGBT activists from marching at Pride in London

There was a moment of tension at Pride in London today (July 6) as a number of LGBT+ activists were temporarily stopped by stewards and police.

Queer campaigners from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, the Outside Project and African Rainbow Family were waiting to march at the end of Pride when they were stopped by officials, according to reports on the ground.

Following a short stand-off the group was allowed to join the march despite not having applied for a place in the parade.

There is frustration that a bloc including queer activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM), the Outside Project and African Rainbow Family who were were waiting to march at the end of Pride, were temporarily stopped by stewards and police.

“Pride in London is celebrating 50 years since Stonewall, yet we’re met with lines of police and ‘stewards’ when marching to fight for those in our community suffering the brunt of oppression,” Sam Bjorn, a spokesperson for Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants told the Guardian. 

“We’re marching with LGBT+ people seeking asylum and homeless LGBT+ people.

“They should be celebrated, not the banks and security companies that are holding us down.”

The tension follows a wave of criticism from LGBT+ networks, accusing Pride in London of becoming increasingly “bureaucratic and regimented.”

Peter Tatchell — LGBT+ activist and one of the organisers of the first UK Pride in 1972 — has criticised this year’s event for limiting the number of people marching.

“In the 1990s over 100,000 marched, and similar numbers would probably march today if the parade was not restricted, he said, adding, “Pride has become so bureaucratic and regimented.

“LGBT+ individuals cannot join the parade, only organisations.”

LGBT+ community take part in the annual Pride Parade in London. (NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

30,000 marches joined the parade in the UK capital today (July 6); up from 25,000 in 2018.

Dan O’Gorman, Strategic Partnerships Director for Pride in London, told PinkNews: “With corporate pinkwashing an ongoing concern in the LGBT+ community, it’s vital that brands demonstrate and provide support all year round, and not just for one month a year.

“We always hold all brands and organisations to the highest standards when we work with them, making sure they actively contribute to improving the lives of our community in the capital and beyond.

“Organising Pride in London each year wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners, who help keep Pride free for everyone to attend — and each and every one gets scrutinised by our Board of Directors as well as our Community Advisory Board to make sure they’re the right fit for us.

“We have an LGBT+ Ethical Policy to hold our partners accountable and to push to ensure their engagement is authentic. Partners and brands must not only stand with the community, but also challenge prejudice and fight for LGBT+ equality wherever they can, in all aspects of their business.”