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Black Lives Matter briefly stops Toronto’s Pride parade

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 4th, 2016


Canada’s largest Pride parade marked another milestone Sunday as a sitting prime minister marched for the first time in a colourful celebration that was tempered by last month’s shooting massacre in Orlando, Fl.

Prominent in the procession was a pair of marchers who held a large black banner that read “Orlando” and “We march for those who can’t.”

A group of marchers, dressed in pastel-coloured robes, each carried signs with the name of an Orlando victim as they worked their way down the route.

There was a moment of silence during the parade to remember the 49 people, predominantly LGBTQ, who were killed in a mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

A river of multi-coloured floats and marchers came to a halt on Yonge Street and stood in silence along with the masses of onlookers who lined both sides of the route.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Florida tragedy is a reminder that “we can’t let hate go by.”


“We have to speak up anytime there is intolerance or discrimination,” he said as he marched.

Trudeau drew a boisterous reaction from those who lined Yonge Street to watch the parade go by — he has taken part in the parade before, including last summer, but this is his first as prime minister.

The casually dressed prime minister posed for selfies and happily waved a Canadian flag as he greeted parade watchers and frequently found himself surrounded by a crush of revellers. Some chanted his name at times.

Courtesy Adam Scotti/Twitter
Courtesy @Adamscotti / Twitter

Other notable politicians who took part include Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Before the parade, Trudeau attended an outdoor church service in the heart of the city’s gay village where he sang along to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

Black Lives Matter briefly halted the parade around 3:30 p.m. by stopping their float and asking for a more inclusive pride for black LGBTQ members.


The staged sit-in near Yonge and College streets caused the parade to be halted for about 30 minutes.

CityNews reporter Ginella Massa said that Pride Toronto agreed and signed the list of demands.

The parade resumed without any further interruptions.

The parade wraps up a month of Pride festivities in Toronto, which saw entertainment heavyweights like George Takei and Lindsay Lohan participate.

The shooting also meant security was higher than usual at this year’s parade. Police were visible even along streets adjacent to the parade route.

Many of the officers seemed to be enjoying the experience, posing for pictures and tweeting them.

Among the celebrities expected to appear in the parade were some stars of the Netflix prison dramedy “Orange is the New Black.”


  • torontogal4603 says:

    Not impressed with the sit-in! They held everyone hostage to their demands. If they want people to support their plight then they need to make better decisions about how to go about it. Their behaviour has decreased my respect for the group and what they stand for! Exclusion is just doing exactly what they are fighting not to have happen to them. How is that showing respect towards others as a group?

  • Claudette Irene Hess says:

    I am so disappointed in the Black Lives Matter Organizers – it was totally RUDE to stop the Pride Parade for their own cause. First of all – ALL LIVES MATTER and to say that THEY want to be the FOCUS and EXCLUDE the POLICE from participating is SO NON-PRODUCTIVE and SELFISH. Why, pray tell, should they dare to ask for ANY group of people to be BARRED from taking part in the PRIDE PARADE? The Toronto Police Force have both Gay Black Policemen and Police Women on the Force and THEY ALSO should be permitted to be PART of the parade. Whoever organized this disruption and these demands should be ASHAMED of THEMSELVES. PRIDE WELCOMES ALL including it’s Gay Police Force Members. Stop trying to DIVIDE everyone and start being considerate and understanding of ALL. SHAME.

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