SF Pride Parade Briefly Halted by Anti-Police, Anti-Corporate Protest

A group of protesters block the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30, 2019, over police and corporate presence at Pride. (Liliana Michelena/KQED)

Updated Sunday, 9:24 p.m.

A small group of protesters blocked the San Francisco Pride Parade for just under an hour on Sunday, over police presence and corporate involvement in Pride festivities.

Around 11 a.m., about a dozen people sat down on Market Street near 6th Street. The parade paused about a half block away while police surrounded the protesters.

A police spokesperson said the protesters "broke down barricades and threw water bottles at officers." Two people were arrested and charged with battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and interfering with a parade route, and one officer sustained non-life threatening injuries.

"Police do not make us feel safe," said one of the protesters on a megaphone, eliciting cheers from the parade watchers standing along the street. The protest was organized by Abolish ICE SF and Gay Shame, an organization that has been pushing for the exclusion of police from Pride.

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After a little under an hour, the protesters got up and started chanting, "50 minutes for 50 years," in reference to the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that are often cited as having sparked the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States.

The protesters read a list of demands that included no police presence at any Pride-related event, the release of transgender people being held in San Francisco jail, no corporate involvement in Pride, an end to homeless sweeps in the lead up to the parade and making Pride more accessible to people with disabilities.

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"The system of policing upholds white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, gender binaries and capitalist rule," a protester said over a megaphone, reading out the demands.

"Our second demand is no corporations in Pride," the protester continued. "They profit from our communities while simultaneously exploiting, investing and benefiting from the prison industrial complex which disproportionately impacts black and brown and queer and trans communities."

The crowd seemed mostly supportive of the protest, cheering them on and at one point breaking out into a chant of, "We support you!"

"Cops are mechanisms of violence," said a protest organizer who goes by the name Mary Jane Ma after the parade had resumed. "They are the primary interaction that queer and trans people have with the state, almost always in a way that harms them physiologically or physically, and they have no place that has to do with our collective liberation."

Anti-police and anti-corporate sentiments have been a part of the conversation leading up to this year's Pride. In addition to mid-parade protest, a group of Google employees unsuccessfully asked San Francisco Pride to not allow their employer to be a part of Pride because of homophobic content on Google-owned YouTube.

Many of those disillusioned Google employees marched in the parade in protest of Google's continued role in the festivities.

"If Google won't take a stand, than the world needs to demand that Google change that and take a stand," said the protest's lead organizer, who declined to give his name for fear over his job.

KQED's Kathleen Quillian contributed to this report.

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