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Black Lives Matter Vancouver wants police float out of Pride parade

A large rainbow flag is carried down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, August 2, 2015.
A large rainbow flag is carried down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, August 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Black Lives Matter Vancouver is asking the Vancouver Police Department to voluntarily withdraw its float from the upcoming Pride Parade as a “show of solidarity and understanding.”

The open letter issued by the activist group on Friday comes weeks after its Toronto counterparts halted the city’s parade until organizers signed off on a list of demands including banning police floats from future marches.

The Vancouver chapter says it stands with Black Lives Matter Toronto in its discontent with police marching in the parade.

WATCH: Black Lives Matters co-founders say they are not backing down from their call to remove police floats from future Pride parades. Peter Kim reports.

Click to play video: 'Black Lives Matter renew demands to kick police floats out of Pride parade'
Black Lives Matter renew demands to kick police floats out of Pride parade

But it says it will not take part in the Pride Parade, by participation or protest, as an act of solidarity with other Black Lives Matter chapters and because it feels the event “no longer represents community action, resistance and revolution.”

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It says having Vancouver police on the ground to perform a civil service is understandable, but having officers participate on a float is “inappropriate and insulting” to those who made Pride celebrations possible.

Instead, the group proposes a public service float, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others, to replace the police-only float.

READ MORE: A Black Lives Matter rally was held in Vancouver last weekend

Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham said the department was aware of the letter and would work with organizers, and all interest groups, to ensure that their concerns are addressed.

“We continue to work with all communities to build a more inclusive Vancouver, and protect the rights of all those who live,
work and play in the city,” he said in an email.

No one from the Vancouver Pride Society was available for an interview on Friday evening, but the parade organizer issued a statement on Tuesday that said it was deeply committed to creating safer spaces for trans people, indigenous communities and people of colour.

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