Crowds of people have filled the streets of Toronto today to celebrate the annual Pride Parade, though the tone was subdued at times by tensions between the LGBTQ community and the city’s police force.
More than 120 groups are marching along the rainy downtown route in this year’s parade – but uniformed officers are not among them.
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Earlier this year, members of the LGBTQ community accused Toronto police of failing to seriously investigate the disappearances of men linked to the city’s gay neighbourhood for years – until January, when 66-year-old landscaper Bruce McArthur was arrested and subsequently charged with eight counts of first-degree murder.
Mike Morris, a 29-year-old nursing student who came to the parade bare-chested and in a rainbow Speedo, says the allegations against McArthur and strain between the community and police reaffirmed his desire to attend the parade.
WATCH: Despite the rain, people poured into downtown Toronto to celebrate the city’s annual Pride Parade
He says the LGBTQ community needs to come together during “difficult situations.”
Tensions involving police and the parade started brewing in 2016, when members of Black Lives Matter abruptly halted the march to present several demands, among them that uniformed police, their floats and cruisers be excluded.
The group cited tensions between the force and black citizens arising from racial profiling, among other things.
This is second consecutive year uniformed officers have been excluded from marching in the parade, but police are on hand as the streets are flooded with hordes of spectators.