After this month’s Los Angeles Pride parade had initially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is now going ahead as a protest against racism and police violence.
As Black Lives Matter demonstrations continue around the United States and internationally following the police murder of George Floyd, the organisers of Los Angeles Pride this week announced that this year’s event will be a protest in solidarity.
“While we had cancelled all in-person events due to COVID-19, we have decided to peacefully assemble a protest in Hollywood, where the first ever permitted Pride Parade took place, in solidarity with the Black community,” they posted on social media.
“50 years ago, [organising group] Christopher Street West took to the streets of Hollywood Boulevard to peacefully protest against police brutality and oppression.
“We feel that it is our moral imperative to honor the legacies of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who bravely led the Stonewall uprising, by standing in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and joining the fight for meaningful and long-lasting reform.”
The protest will be held next Sunday 14 June at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue from 10 am local time.
Los Angeles Pride is among hundreds of celebrations cancelled this Pride Month due to the pandemic.
Physical distancing and other hygiene measures are still recommended for those attending rallies.
Protesters should wear masks, wash or sanitise their hands as often as possible, and try to keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from others.
Anyone with chronic illness or who is otherwise at higher risk of severe sickness from COVID-19 infection should stay home, as should anyone with symptoms of COVID-19.
In Australia, Black Lives Matter protests are also planned for this weekend.
Australian Medical Association South Australian President Dr Chris Moy said that protesters can take steps to help keep safe from spreading the virus.
“From a purely health point of view it’s not ideal to have close contact, but what you need to do is to maximise physical distancing,” said Dr Moy.
“Masks I think [are] really going to be helpful in this situation.
“Avoid physical contact, [practise] good hygiene, and avoid enclosed areas.”
While ABC News has reported that police in South Australia have granted a special exemption to pandemic-related public gathering rules to allow the “unique and extraordinary event” of Adelaide’s protest, the New South Wales Supreme Court has banned tomorrow’s protest in Sydney.
Victorian police have similarly threatened to fine anyone rallying in groups of more than 20.
More than 11,000 people have indicated on Facebook that they will attend the Sydney rally.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked people not to attend the rallies, saying they should “find a better way” of protesting.
“I say to them: don’t go,” said Morrison.
Other Black Lives Matter protests are planned for various cities, in addition to online events.
The murder of George Floyd has once again highlighted the widespread issue of police violence against Black people.
According to one source, over 1,000 Americans were killed by police last year, almost a quarter of the victims Black.
In Australia, despite 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991, no police have ever been convicted.