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Pride activists stage ‘die-in’ against police presence on parade

QUEER activists staged a “die-in” at Pride in London on Saturday, bringing the parade to a halt in protest against the inclusion of police officers. 

A group of 40 LGBTQ+ activists, wearing all black with pink veils, lay on the ground ahead of the Metropolitan Police block. 

Others held up banners reading: “No pride in cops,” and “No pride in borders,” to demand that Pride in London events ban the participation of police officers at all future marches. 

The activists, who are members of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) campaign group, said they brought the parade to a standstill for 23 minutes, representing the 23 people who have died in police custody since the end of 2020. 

LGSM sent an open letter to Pride in London last month calling on the organisers of the official parade not to permit police officers to participate in the event. 

The letter highlighted police failures to investigate the murders of young gay men by serial killer Stephen Porter as reasons why the LGBTQ+ community has a “widespread distrust of policing,” as well as other cases of homophobia, racism and misogyny in the police. 

Following pressure from various campaign groups, Pride in London announced ahead of Saturday’s march that uniformed officers were not welcome to attend.  

However, police still marched in the parade, wearing matching T-shirts with the police logo instead of full uniform. 

LGSM spokesperson Sam Bjorn said the group staged the protest because “police endanger our communities.

“Straight or gay, in matching rainbow T-shirts or in uniform, that has to change,” the spokesperson said. 

“While we welcome Pride in London’s acknowledgement of police violence no amount of glitter can wash those stories away, and we won’t let them.

“Fifty years ago a Pride that looks like the one we see in London today seemed like an impossible dream. Fifty years from now we know that we’ll be dancing in the streets celebrating a world free from police and their violence.” 

LGSM had also called on organisers to ban the presence of the Home Office at Pride over the deportation of gay migrants to countries that are unsafe for them.

The department came under fire just last week for deporting a gay man to Nigeria despite him having suffered a brutal homophobic attack in his home country, and receiving death threats.

On Friday, the Gay Liberation Front held a separate demo to mark the 50th anniversary of pride. 

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