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Edmonton Pride Parade continues after being stopped by demonstrators

Demonstration briefly stalls Edmonton Pride Parade
WATCH ABOVE: Old Strathcona was packed Saturday as the 2018 Edmonton Pride Parade wound its way colourful crowds. Albert Delitala was there.

Old Strathcona was packed with people Saturday, as the Pride Parade officially kicked off this year’s Edmonton Pride Festival.

The parade includes floats from local sports teams, politicians, community groups, businesses and law enforcement.

“The amount of people here… it’s crazy,” said Cole Pickett. “It’s way different from anything that I’ve experienced. It’s really nice to see.”

For one group of young people, it was their first time at Edmonton’s Pride Parade.

“It’s just a really nice way to celebrate and support everyone… It’s really fun too,” one girl said.

“We came to support our friends and be with people who are like us,” her friend added.

READ MORE: Gloomy weather doesn’t stop thousands of Edmontonians from attending 2017 Pride Parade

Kevin Quail is a retired police officer who now plays for the Edmonton Police Service pipes and drums.

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“This parade is, hands down, the most energetic, fun parade I’ve ever been in,” he said.

It was sunny and warm at the start of the parade but some clouds and light showers rolled in shortly after it began.

Big turnout for the Edmonton Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
Big turnout for the Edmonton Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Albert Delitala, Global News
Out and about at the Edmonton Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
Out and about at the Edmonton Pride Parade on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Albert Delitala, Global News
Edmontonians gather and wait for the Pride Parade to start on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
Edmontonians gather and wait for the Pride Parade to start on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Margeaux Maron, Global News
The Edmonton Pride Parade officially kicks off in Old Strathcona Saturday, June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Pride Parade officially kicks off in Old Strathcona Saturday, June 9, 2018. Margeaux Maron, Global News
The Edmonton Pride Parade officially kicks off in Old Strathcona Saturday, June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Pride Parade officially kicks off in Old Strathcona Saturday, June 9, 2018. Margeaux Maron, Global News
Premier Rachel Notley and members of the Alberta NDP march in the Edmonton Pride Parade, June 9, 2018.
Premier Rachel Notley and members of the Alberta NDP march in the Edmonton Pride Parade, June 9, 2018. Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED
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Rainbows on display on the Shaw float during the Edmonton Pride Parade, June 9, 2018.
Rainbows on display on the Shaw float during the Edmonton Pride Parade, June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
Homeward Trust float in Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
Homeward Trust float in Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
The Edmonton Prospects baseball club walks in the Pride Parade June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Prospects baseball club walks in the Pride Parade June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
The Edmonton police pipe band takes part in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton police pipe band takes part in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED
The Edmonton police walk in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton police walk in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED
The Edmonton Oilers participate in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Oilers participate in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
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The Edmonton Oilers, including their mascot, participate in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Oilers, including their mascot, participate in the Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
People from the Oilers, Eskimos and You Can Play walk in the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
People from the Oilers, Eskimos and You Can Play walk in the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
The Edmonton Eskimos cheer team in the Pride Parade through Old Strathcona on June 9, 2018.
The Edmonton Eskimos cheer team in the Pride Parade through Old Strathcona on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
People from the Oilers, Eskimos and You Can Play walk in the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
People from the Oilers, Eskimos and You Can Play walk in the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
Even Star Wars characters get dressed up for Edmonton Pride, June 9, 2018.
Even Star Wars characters get dressed up for Edmonton Pride, June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
Even Star Wars characters get dressed up for Edmonton Pride, June 9, 2018.
Even Star Wars characters get dressed up for Edmonton Pride, June 9, 2018. Kevin Jesus, Global News
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Demonstrators briefly stop the Pride Parade with some demands for organizers. June 9, 2018.
Demonstrators briefly stop the Pride Parade with some demands for organizers. June 9, 2018. Albert Delitala, Global News
Demonstrators temporarily halt the Edmonton Pride Parade with some demands for organizers. June 9, 2018.
Demonstrators temporarily halt the Edmonton Pride Parade with some demands for organizers. June 9, 2018. Albert Delitala, Global News

The parade was also halted for about 20 minutes when a group of demonstrators presented some demands to the Pride Society.

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The group — which did not affiliate itself with any one organization — described itself as “a number of queer and trans people of colour and their allies.”

“A group of people of colour, trans and queer folks and their allies briefly held up the parade to bring more awareness to the fact that the Pride Society had unfortunately asked a lot of people of colour to march as marshals in the parade — which was great — but then when those folks brought their demands and their needs for their own safety to have the police and military, etc. not walk in the parade, those requests were ignored not once but twice,” spokesperson Alexis Hillyard said.

“This was the necessary action to have further productive dialogue.”

This is the list of demands the demonstrators presented to the Pride Society:

  1. That the Pride Society uninvite the Edmonton Police Service, RCMP and military from marching in future parades.
  2. That the society restructure its board and staff hiring practices to have more representation from people of colour and trans folks.
  3. That more well-funded spaces specifically designed for people of colour and trans folks be included in festival.
  4. That all mainstream Pride spaces clearly acknowledge and honour pride’s history as a demonstration against police oppression.

Hillyard told a Global News reporter that the Pride Society had agreed to meet the demonstrators’ demands before the parade continued.

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READ MORE: Edmonton Pride Festival rejects UCP’s application to march in Pride parade

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Pride Society said board representatives met with the demonstrators, forwarded their demands to the rest of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society Board of Directors and, after discussion, a motion was put forward to accept the demands.

“The Edmonton Pride Festival Society is in agreement with each of the demands presented,” the society said in a news release shared later Saturday afternoon.

“EPS, RCMP and military will not march in the parade until the community feels that they have taken the necessary steps for all community members to feel safe with their presence.”

READ MORE: Pride Centre of Edmonton to more than double in size to keep up with demand

The board will also hold community consultations to determine how to move forward with these demands and “to determine how the Edmonton Pride Festival Society can best support all communities suffering from systemic racism and oppression.”

The society also thanked the demonstrators for their courage and for remaining peaceful and respectful.

June 9 Edmonton Pride Festival statement by Anonymous mhXtDcYr6 on Scribd

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