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Black Lives Matter Vancouver holds march, voices opposition to police marching in Pride parade

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Black Lives Matter protest
Sun, Jun 25: The Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter held a protest today against including the police at the upcoming pride parade. Kristen Robinson has more – Jun 25, 2017

As cities around the world held Pride parades this weekend, the local chapter of Black Lives Matter held an event to voice their opposition to the participation of police at Vancouver’s Pride parade set to take place in August.

Supporters gathered at Emery Barnes Park for speeches and then marched along Davie Street, eventually making their way to Alexandra Park.

Cicely Blain, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Vancouver, said Sunday that having police take part in the parade goes against what Pride stands for.

“Police represent histories of violence and brutality towards black people and indigenous people and different people of colour both in Canada and the U.S. and across the globe,” Blain said.

“Pride itself started as a riot and a protest against police so it doesn’t make sense for them to now be inside the parade covered in rainbows pretending to celebrate with us, when actually they’re part of the reason that we have Pride,” she said, referring to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, considered to be a turning point in the gay rights movement.

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WATCH: Legacy of New York’s Stonewall riots on the LGBTQ movement

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Legacy of New York’s Stonewall riots on the LGBTQ movement

The issue first came to widespread public attention during last year’s parade in Toronto, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers agreed to a list of conditions.

Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked the Vancouver Police Department last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the parade as “a show of solidarity and understanding” because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.

Last month, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) confirmed it will be participating in this year’s Pride parade.

WATCH: Police to participate in Vancouver’s Pride parade

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Police to participate in Vancouver’s Pride Parade

VPD members and volunteers will walk as part of the City of Vancouver entry, which will include city staff and members of Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services. Most VPD members will walk in T-shirts, while about 20 per cent will walk in uniform. No marked police vehicles will be in the parade.

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The VPD will also participate in listening circles, before the parade and year-round.

— With files from Kristen Robinson, Amy Judd and The Canadian Press

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