Protesters from the Free Pride organisation attempted to disrupt the Glasgow Pride parade earlier, taking direct action against the decision of Pride organisers to allow Police Scotland to lead the parade.
A small number of people, armed with a megaphone, placards and a banner, which said “No Pride in Police”, tried to block the start of the march on Greendyke Street, by Glasgow Green.
In exclusive video footage, taken from Pink Saltire’s Facebook Live stream of the Pride parade, protesters can be seen being moved back by Police and Pride’s Chief Executive, Alastair Smith. One protester evaded the Police and stood directly in the path of Glasgow Police Pipe Band, who were leading the march.
Although not yet confirmed by Police Scotland, it’s understood arrests were made further along the parade route and within the festival site as the parade started.
A number of anti-fascist demonstrators were also present at the march, many in black hoods and covering their faces, with some being involved in scuffles with Police. The group took to Twitter appealing for supporters to join them in an occupation of London Road Police Station, where those thought to have been arrested were allegedly being held.
The group have used the Twitter hashtag “death to pigs” and other supporters have referred to officers as “pigs” in social media posts.
The demonstrations seem to be centred around 2 main issues this year – the priority given to Police Scotland in the march set against the perceived ongoing oppression of LGBT people, especially those with trans identities, and secondly the commercialisation or ‘pink-washing’ of Pride, referring to the number of businesses and corporations taking part without any perceived benefit to the LGBT+ community.
Pink Saltire talked to several people on the parade route to find out their views on the demonstration and whether they think ‘pink-washing’ of Glasgow Pride is an issue.
Jamie (21) who travelled from Falkirk told us, “LGBT people work in all aspects of society so why shouldn’t they be offered the chance to march alongside their colleagues for Tesco or Santander or whoever – if they’re proud of their identity and their employer they should be allowed to show that.”
Natalya (18) who lives in Glasgow but is originally from Turkey, said: “You don’t realise how lucky you are to be able to live openly in Scotland like this, with the Police there to protect everyone. These protesters don’t speak for me or many people here!”
Another Pride marcher, who didn’t want to be identified, told us: “Pride has evolved over the years, yes everyone knows it was started from riots at Stonewall, but lucky for us we don’t need to riot any longer. I wish they [protesters] would just enjoy the love, unity and solidarity we have as a community instead of trying to divide us, it’s so sad.”
You can watch the full video of the Glasgow Pride Parade 2017 at this link: