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Halifax flies Pride flag in commemoration of Raymond Taavel

The Halifax Regional Municipality is flying a Pride flag to honour the anniversary of Raymond Taavel's death.
The Halifax Regional Municipality is flying a Pride flag to honour the anniversary of Raymond Taavel's death. Jesse Thomas/Global News

A rainbow flag is flying over the Halifax Grand Parade this weekend, marking the death of prominent gay rights activist Raymond Taavel eight years ago.

The province’s state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic means that Haligonians aren’t able to mark his death in public.

READ MORE: Family of Raymond Taavel describe grief, devastation after his death

Instead, the municipal government is encouraging residents to show their pride at home.

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Many LGBTQ-owned businesses or private homes have chosen to mark the occasion by flying the rainbow flag.

Taavel, 49, was beaten to death outside Menz & Mollyz Bar on Gottingen Street on April 17, 2012, when he tried to break up an early-morning fight between two men.

Andre Denny later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with Taavel’s death and was sentenced to seven and a half years in custody.

Denny, who was 33 years old at the time of Taavel’s death, had been reported missing from the East Coast Forensic Hospital after failing to return from an unescorted hour-long leave the night before.

He has since served his full sentence but remains at the East Coast Forensic Hospital because he was found not criminally responsible.

He has slowly been receiving more privileges, including day passes that allow him to leave the facility.

Click to play video 'Halifax park to be renamed in honour of activist Raymond Taavel 7 years after his death' Halifax park to be renamed in honour of activist Raymond Taavel 7 years after his death
Halifax park to be renamed in honour of activist Raymond Taavel 7 years after his death – Jan 8, 2019

In the years since his death, Taavel has posthumously received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and has been honoured with memorials and commemorative plaques.

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A small park on Barrington Street was renamed in honour of Taavel.

It bears a sign that includes a write-up about Taavel’s contributions to the LGBTQ community in the city.

With files from Global News’ Rebecca Lau