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Toronto's 2024 Pride Parade Ended Early, Cancelled After Protests

Toronto’s 2024 Pride Parade Ended Early, Cancelled After Protests

“We made the decision to cancel the remainder of the parade out of our commitment to ensuring public safety,” Pride Toronto said after demonstrators brought the parade to a stop at Yonge Street and Wellesley Street…

The annual Toronto Pride Parade took over the city on Sunday afternoon marking the end of a month’s worth of events celebrating the city’s vibrant 2SLGBTQI+ community, until the procession — billed as Canada’s largest — was suddenly stopped mid-route by a protest, and then was officially cancelled.

This year’s parade theme was “Be,” which Pride Toronto called “a resounding statement that says, ‘We are here and always will be.’ ”

The 2024 parade began at Bloor Street and Church Street with more than 250 groups marching together along Yonge Street down to Nathan Phillips Square. About 30 demonstrators, calling themselves the Coalition Against Pinkwashing, held banners and chanted on Yonge Street, just south of Wellesley Street, three and a half hours after the parade’s 2:00pm start. Floats and marchers making their way south toward the parade’s finish at Nathan Phillips Square were stranded behind the protesters, who chanted “Free Palestine” and “Pride is a protest” while holding signs that read: “Pride partners with genocide” and “Stop pinkwashing.”

Toronto Police posted on social media that a demonstration during the parade had caused a disruption, and that the parade was “paused temporarily.” Then, 45 minutes after the protest began, Pride Toronto announced the remainder of the parade was cancelled.

“Today, we made the decision to cancel the remainder of the Pride Parade out of our commitment to ensuring public safety. We deeply respect and uphold everyone’s right to peacefully protest, our foremost priority is the well-being of all participants and spectators,” said an official statement released to social media by Pride Toronto. “We recognize the Pride Parade as a highly anticipated event that many organizations and individuals eagerly prepare for. We empathize with those who were looking forward to participating and regret any inconvenience caused by the decision.”

Toronto police gathered further down the parade route but did not take any action with the protesters, who left Yonge Street about two hours after they shut it down and marched west along Wellesley Street on the sidewalk. Police said no arrests were made in connection with the demonstration. 

According to a pamphlet handed out by the Coalition Against Pinkwashing, the protesters had six demands, among them the divestment from all corporations “actively involved in violently exploiting native people” on Turtle Island and in Sudan, Palestine and the Congo.

Of course, this is not the first time that Toronto’s Pride Parade has come to a halt in recent years. In 2016, a Black Lives Matter group brought the parade to a standstill on July 3 when it stopped its float with a protest that called on Pride to answer for its “anti-blackness.” The parade was halted for more than 30 minutes until Pride leaders signed the list of demands on the spot.

Unlike 2016, this year the demands by the Coalition Against Pinkwashing went unsigned. According to the Toronto Star, a protester named Faisal Samir said Pride Toronto offered a meeting to “think about” the demands.

After the Pride Parade was cancelled celebrations, balloons, confetti, bubbles, and bass-heavy music continued on Church Street, where vendors lined the pavement, restaurants overflowed and jam-packed beer gardens with DJs continued to play music as crowds danced away. Official celebrations were also taking place at Nathan Philips Square with a variety of legendary performers. Stay connected! Follow us to get the latest LGBTQ news and updates.

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    Amie / 07 July 2024

    It was revealed later that some of Pride Toronto directors knew this was going to happen and told police not to interfere. These Directors must step down immediately! We cannot have Pride interrupted by various political factions. Police should be advised to remove them and charge them.

    Pride is strictly about the LGBTQ+ community and our struggles, not a war in some far off country. Ukrainian people had marchers in the parade and no mention of what was happening back in their homeland. That’s the way it should be.

    Arlene / 02 July 2024

    You are so right, Janice!!!!!

    Arlene / 02 July 2024

    It is absolutely discussing that our beautiful city is being held hostage by ignorance. Wake up, people. (Or whoever has a brain) There is a mandate in place. Now it’s the Jews, next it will be you.

    Janice Gladstone / 02 July 2024

    So now PRIDE is being appropriated to persecute Israel. I don’t know any pro-Palestinian protesters who know the history or understand the politics in the Middle East. These people have jumped on a bandwagon whose motivation is questionable. I wonder why the masses are so up in arms about this relatively small war? I wonder why the people see Palestinians as oppressed, but don’t see Jews or Israelis that way? I wonder why the people ignore the fact that Israel is fighting for its life against foreign-backed terrorist groups? I wonder how anyone in the 2SLGBTQQIIA+ worlds could land on the side of a community who wants to torture and murder them against the only country in the region who supports their right to live proudly, and openly in peace?

    Eve / 02 July 2024

    Well at least Toronto Pride did not sign any demands. If they had asked the police to arrest the protestors it would have escalated the protest and given them much more favorable publicity. They just wandered off eventually spouting off their slogans to no one and at least now the public has one more good reason to dislike the pro-Palestinian protestors who diligently and aggressively keep finding new ways to make themselves as unpopular as possible:- they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They could have just joined the parade and protested the grossly excessive Israeli bombardment of Gaza from wihtin the parade and got a lot of favorable publicity for themselves but why be smart when you can be stupid? So now the whole 2SLGBT+ community is also down on them and they have lost a lot of public credibility in TO and in Canada. Good riddance.

    Paul / 01 July 2024

    The idiotic protesters should have been forcibly removed from the parade path so that the festivities could have continued. A disgrace and a lack of respect on the part of the Pride organisers to allow the cancellation of the rest of the parade. If the protesters wanted to protest something, much more appropriate would have been protests about the lack of human rights for homosexuals and the actual persecution of gays in the Palestinian territories and Arabic regions of the Middle East. That would have made some kind of sense in a Pride Parade.

    Tim / 01 July 2024

    I support the protestors 100%. There is no pride in Genocide.

    KIM BROWN / 01 July 2024

    Disgusting. Why can everyone else have a parade yet this one gets shut down. I feel the police and the city failed in this. If anything they have made it look like they do not support Pride at all. Those protesters (were talking 30 people ) against 100s of supporters for this parade should have been told to shove off. Their protests didn’t even have anything to do with Pride. Go to those countries if you want to protest. What the hell do you think a disruption of a Gay Parade proves? Well you’re bullies and it’s all about you. That’s where the hate starts. That’s where racism comes into play. So you’re not making it any easier for these people you’re protesting for. You’re bringing attention to them and not in a good way. Giving them a hostile environment to live here. I don’t know who had the authority to call this shut down but you sure called it wrong. Whats next the Santa Claus parade? Come on grow a pair.

    Irene Cadieux / 01 July 2024

    I find this absolutely disgusting. The Pride parade has nothing to do with Palestine. Yes people have a right to peacefully protest but not a right to impede other citizens rights. They should have been moved off the road and the parade allowed to continue. There will always be protesters I accept that fact but ordinary folks deserve rights as well. You Toronto gave 30 people a win to-day and the losers were the thousand of people who were in the parade and the thousand who travelled to see the parade. Shame on you!!

    Melissa Jean Cassidy / 01 July 2024

    Unfortunately a group of protesters shut down the Pride Parade 😤


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