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Campaigners march in London as main Pride celebrations move online

The official 2020 event was postponed due to Covid-19.

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Peter Tatchell leads a march through London to mark the London Gay Liberation Front’s 50th anniversary (Yui Mok/PA)

Peter Tatchell leads a march through London to mark the London Gay Liberation Front’s 50th anniversary (Yui Mok/PA)

Peter Tatchell leads a march through London to mark the London Gay Liberation Front’s 50th anniversary (Yui Mok/PA)

Pride celebrations were moved online amid the coronavirus pandemic, while smaller crowds than usual took to the streets of London.

One of the largest Pride events is usually in the capital, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year, but the 2020 event due to take place on Saturday was postponed due to Covid-19.

Despite the main event no longer taking place, demonstrators held a Black Trans Lives Matter march to remember and celebrate black transgender people.

A crowd gathered at Hyde Park Corner before a march, with many wearing face coverings and carrying placards displaying messages such as “Silence is violence”, “Protect trans youth” and “No justice, no peace”.

Some of the demonstrators also carried fresh flowers, while banners said “Fight police brutality, fight racism! Fight imperialism!” and “Black trans lives matter”.

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell and former Gay Liberation Front (GLF) members also marched in central London.

The activists, some of whom are in their 70s and 80s, marched the route usually taken by the Pride In London parade calling for political action including the end of deportations for LGBT asylum seekers.

Mr Tatchell, 68, told the PA news agency: “Today’s march is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front.

“We are seeking to reclaim Pride as an event for LGBT+ human rights.”

Mr Tatchell added: “We hope that our protest will encourage people to remember the long, difficult struggle for LGBT+ rights and remember that here in Britain, and around the world, there are still battles to fight and win.”

He said that due to Covid-19 and underlying health conditions that just around a dozen GLF veterans would be joining the march.

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Peter Tatchell (centre) leads a march through London (Yui Mok/PA)

Peter Tatchell (centre) leads a march through London (Yui Mok/PA)

PA

Peter Tatchell (centre) leads a march through London (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Tatchell added: “As well as campaigning for LGBT+ rights, we are expressing our solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and black LGBT+ people.”

Many members of the LGBT community have opted to hold online celebrations throughout Pride month.

One such event was a 24-hour live stream celebration, Global Pride, which took place on Saturday from 6am.

Celebrities and politicians were among those taking part, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the virtual event allowed people to celebrate “diversity and equality during these challenging times”.

He added: “I’m proud to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m proud to lead a Labour Party which has consistently advanced the cause of civil rights.

“I also know there’s much more to do. We must continue to stand against homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, in all their forms.”

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon also delivered an online message for Global Pride, saying: “It’s an opportunity to celebrate values like equality, diversity and solidarity and it allows us to send the very clear message that whoever you are, love is love.

“That’s a message that Scotland is very proud to support.”

Leo Varadkar, newly appointed Tanaiste in Ireland having recently been Taoiseach, said: “Pride is a party, as well as a protest, and I know it’s very difficult for everyone this year that we’re not able to go out to the streets in the way that we would before, but the pandemic will pass and I know next year we’ll be able to celebrate Pride and protest on Pride as we have done in the past.”

Online events will continue after Saturday, with charities including Amnesty International and Stonewall starting a week of celebration on Sunday.

The Pride Inside events will include LGBT performers and speakers and will last until July 5.

This weekend’s Pride celebrations come a week after three men were killed in a terror attack in Reading which particularly affected the town’s LGBT community.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, James Furlong and David Wails were killed during the incident in Forbury Gardens on June 20.

An hour was dedicated to the three men, described as “friends of Reading Pride”, on the online Global Pride.

PA