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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Police Attack on Queers Against the Cuts Contingent on Pride Demo


Brighton Police Score Another Own Goal with their Unprovoked Attacks

At the weekend Brighton staged about its 24th Gay Pride in the city.  For those of us with long memories, we can recall when the Police deployed plain clothes officers, like Sean MacDonald and the new ‘Police Liason Officers’ to hang around public toilets in the hope of catching gay men cottaging. 




 
We can also remember when the Police turned a blind eye to violent attacks from the National Front on gay meetings at Sussex University and a Campaign for Homosexual Equality meeting in Brighton.

There was a time when to be gay and out was a sign of radical politics.  Today the pink pound has taken over.  Gay Pride has no pride as it jumps to the sound of cash registers.

Brighton’s Gay Pride, which the trade union and student movement helped largely fund when it started, has become in hock to commercial interests.  A charge of £17.50 was levied on those attending its events and the floats on the Pride March are sponsored by local businesses.

What is however unacceptable and outrageous is how the organisers of Brighton Gay Pride deliberately allowed the Police to target and harass a contingent from Queers Against the Cuts with one particular idiot of a steward wondering whether something ‘overtly political’ should even be on the march!  Someone tell the fool about the origins of Stonewall!  As the Guardian video below demonstrates, they paid a visit to one activist’s house to inquire as to whether she was a leader of or knew who was the leader of UK Uncut in Brighton.

It’s strange how the Police target groups like UK Uncut who campaign to ensure that the tax dodgers and evaders – when they do fuck all about the parasites, bankers and tax dodgers.  As is always the case with the Police, they pick and choose which lawbreakers they go after.  And it’s not those who are the loan sharks, the slum landlords (unless they are Black) or those who fixed bank interest rates and much besides.  After all it wasn’t so long ago that the Metropolitan Police were wining and dining executives of that international criminal conspiracy known as News International – another tax dodger.  They even placed a NI operative in their press office as officers freely took backhanders from Murdoch’s minions.  Today they believe a few prosecutions will make people forget the institutionalised corruption of the Met and other forces.

Sussex Police gave gained a reputation as a politically interventionist force, albeit ham  handed in the extreme.  They attacked a demonstration against Israel’s war against Lebanon in 2006 on grounds of ‘anti-Semitism’ and were even reprimanded no less than 3 times by the IPCC for their display of unacceptable political bias.  Prime amongst the culprits was Brighton’s Police Chief Kevin Moore.  It took a campaign over the Right to Protest before the Police backed off.

Last year, the Police went around to venues hosting the launch of my book on the Fight Against Fascism in Brighton & the South Coast warning off venues from hosting it.  To their shame, the Quakers of the Friends Meeting House buckled as have the trustees of Community Base where many charities organise from.

The Police followed this on April 22nd with a violent attack on those who sought to prevent the distinctly anti-gay English Defence League from marching (Gay Pride organisers take note – fascists are no friend of gays).  Despite the Police use of pepper spray, horses, dogs and a liberal use of batons, the fascist march barely made it one third of the way.  So we have the Police, ‘friend’ of Gay Pride also befriending the anti-gay EDL.  The truth is that the views of rank and file police have barely changed.  What Supt. Bartlett of Brighton Police is most concerned about is being seen to be gay friendly.

All one can say of the Pride organisers is that they are useful idiots.  The right-wing in the Tory Party has already blocked the idea of gay marriages.  It would take little, if the Conservatives lurched further to the right, for hostility to gays to resurface along with their anti-abortion views.

The organisers of Brighton’s Pride March, in deliberately allowing the Police to intervene in the march and  haranguing members of Queers Against the Cuts, revealed themselves as nothing more than gay Judases who’ve sold out that which they know nothing about for a cut of the proceeds.

On a positive note, Brighton Police have once again shown their political partiality against any radical (as opposed to right-wing) political movement.  The shame is that the commercially motivated organisers of Pride – who know nothing about its origins or roots – were happy to along with this.

Below is a report from Beth Granter, who organised the Queers Against the Cuts contingent and various other reports, including the (naturally) pro-Police BBC.  The QAC contingent was first moved from its agreed place with the trade unions and the NUT to the back of the march, after police intervention and the compliance of hysterical scab stewards and it was then kettled by the Police (although they have  since lied about this it’s on camera).

Tony Greenstein


                   
                   
                    Queers Kettled at Brighton Pride

02/09/2012 by Queers Against The Cuts

Our Press release

Members of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts were kettled and persistently harassed by the Police at Brighton Pride Parade last Saturday. London Queers Against the Cuts, who were guests of the Brighton group observed the kettling and also experienced the harassment first hand themselves.

“There seemed to have been trouble before the parade moved off – with our section mysteriously being moved to the back of the parade.” said Richard Farnos, London QUAC Co-Convenor.

The background and experiences of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts is described in  Beth Granter blog, the principal Brighton QUAC organiser

“But the real trouble began” said Richard “as the parade moved off when some latecomers sort to join the group.  Led by a belligerent steward (who at one point threaten to have me thrown off the march for asking why people couldn’t join the parade), a group of police on horseback and foot cut in front us and began to kettle the group.”

A member of the London group went forward to inform the organisers of the Parade what was going on, however he largely found them unhelpful.

However Caroline Lucas and Peter Tatchell who were marching with the Green Party returned and tried to reason with the Police and stewards.  Peter Tatchell pointed out that people were being allowed to join other parts of the parade and that assertions made by the stewards that thousands would join in were ridiculous.

Richard Farnos observed  “In a parallel discussion I had with another steward she questioned whether something ‘so overtly political’ should be on the parade at all and even suggested that somehow we would let fascists join our group on the march!”

As a result of Carol’s and Peter’s intervention the Queers Against the Cuts groups were allowed to continue but so did the harassment – all the way to Preston Park.  The contingent was surrounded by Police and people were prevented from joining.

“I saw people physically thrown back into the crowds,” Richard continued ” Indeed the behaviour of the police was reckless  and dangerous, at one point the horses were so close to us that one licked my neck.  We had older and disabled people with us and one stumble and fall and we would have all been under the horses.”

“I have been a political activist since the eighties and have been on many a demo.  The police behaviour does not surprise me.” Richard Farnos concluded  ”What is a new experience however was the complete lack of support from the Pride organisers.  Are they so enamoured with the corporate pound that the plight of HIV+ people who will lose their benefits; or young LGBT people who will become homeless has no interest to them?  The day when Pride stops being political is the point when Pride will become pointless!”

 Queers Against Cuts mistreatment at Brighton Pride – statement from organiser

02/09/2012 by Queers Against The Cuts

by Beth Granter

I formally registered the walking group Queers Against Cuts for the Brighton Pride Parade in July, paying the £60 fee out of my own pocket and from a donation from a local trade union. Members of the group were invited from local political groups, trade unions and activist communities, to march in solidarity together against government cuts to public services and jobs. Pride began in Stonewall in 1969 as a protest against police harassment of gay and trans people in New York. As Government cuts to jobs and public services are affecting LGBTQ people disproportionately, for many reasons, this is an important reason for us to march against cuts in pride today. In my application email I explained that we would be a collective of different groups and individuals marching together, to check that this was acceptable with Pride organisers, and my application was accepted. On Thursday 30 August I was sent the parade running order (read that here: 2012 Parade Lamp Post Order) and we were pleased to discover we’d be between the National Union of Teachers, who also had an anti-cuts theme, and performance group Champagne Anarchists, at post 50.

Last Wednesday I received a call from Trevor Edwards, pride organiser, who informed me the police had been in touch with concerns about our group being a protest. Trevor said he had reassured the police we were all formally registered and there was no reason to treat us differently.

Last Thursday I received a call from the Police Protest Liaison Officer PC Frank to introduce herself and to say good luck with our banner making (i.e. to let me know she was reading our Facebook Group) and to ask for my email to send me information (which hasn’t arrived yet). I explained I had formally registered the group for the parade with no need for different treatment from the other groups.

Today I turned up to register and collected my number 50 sign (see that here). Here I was told we’d been moved to the back, but as they didn’t know why and didn’t have the paperwork for number 58, they said we could stay in our original position and they would inform the mayor the order was as originally planned when we went past.

So we all got together behind NUT at point 50 who were pleased we were marching with them and we shared accessories!

Then a Pride Organiser came and told us we were in the wrong position and had to move to the back. I informed him that the registration people had said we could stay where we were, showed him my official ’50′ sign so he went away.

Another Pride Organiser came and I explained again, and he said we were fine where we were and could stay.

Another Pride Organiser came and said we had to move back, and when we asked why, became very aggessive and threatened if we didn’t move we would get thrown off the parade. I asked him to check with the previous organisers who had said we could stay.

Then a police officer came with the final Pride Organiser and said we had all been thrown off the march and had to be removed. At this point I broke down in tears as I had put so much hard work into organising the group. At this point I asked everybody to move to the back but was told we still couldn’t join the parade.

Then Caroline Lucas from the Green Party came and spoke to the police and Pride Organisers in solidarity with us. Finally we were allowed to march.

About 100 yards into the march on Marine Parade, some latecomers to our group arrived, including a breast-feeding woman with her baby and others with children. I was told by the Pride Organiser that if I didn’t make them leave our whole group would be blocked. I explained I couldn’t force people to go anywhere. Suddenly a row of police on horseback and foot ran into the middle of our group, and I was told I had to personally identify who was officially in the group to be let through. As this was mainly organised online I didn’t know everybody’s faces. I managed to get most people out of the kettle but around 15 people were left behind. Again I was in tears and others were close to it, having been part of the group organising from the start and suddenly kettled for no reason.
[edit: just read that police are denying a kettle. Here is a photo of the kettle with Queers Against Cuts banner in the middle of it:]



Finally we continued to march. Throughout the parade, any friends or latecomers who tried to join us were pulled from the parade by police. I managed to identify some friends to keep them in with us but others were blocked from joining us.

I’m very hurt and upset at how I was treated and spoken to by Pride, how the rest of the group were treated, how we were given no reason for our sudden relegation to the back, and our mistreatment by the police. Being surrounded by police on horses and on foot was unnecessary and too heavy handed. I was told other latecomers were allowed to join other groups such as The Conservatives.  I believe the only reason we were treated this way is because we had political banners which challenged the status quo of a corporate sponsorship of Pride, and it has really shown the lack of political solidarity from Pride Organisers.

This is my personal statement of my experience but I will be writing a formal statement from the Socialist Party of which I am a member, and asking groups and individuals to sign it once I get chance.

Well, this has inspired me to make the group bigger and even more organised next year! Who’s with me?

Plans for Brighton Pride


29/08/2012 by Queers Against The Cuts

Queers Against the Cuts will be marching on the Brighton Pride Procession this Saturday 1st September 2012. We would really welcome you to join us.

We shall be meeting up at 10.30 am at the entrance to Brighton Pier At approximately 10.45 am we will find our place in the rally.  For more details please click on the following link:

Many of us either can’t afford or are not willing to pay £17.50 to get into the park – so after the march we go beach or back in town depending on the weather and how we feel.  All are welcome to join

If you have one, remember to bring your camera.

See you there

Queers Against Cuts and a failure of Pride

1 09 2012

Brighton’s annual Pride procession is one of the City’s great events – a day when the City can collectively let its hair down in celebration of its diversity. Sadly, at today’s Pride, a line appears to have been crossed that suggests that the event has lost its soul.
The issue concerns the treatment of a group called Queers Against Cuts, who, having been accepted by Pride organisers as a participant in the parade, were subjected to what looks like disgraceful and spiteful treatment by organisers and police.  The organiser of the group tells the full story here but in summary, it appears that having been accepted by the Pride organisers as part of the procession, the Group was, at the insistence of the police, moved to the back of the procession directly in front of police and made subject to some sort of police containment – the group say they were kettled, the police reject the use of the word, but this looks more like a case of semantics than substance.  Whatever the case, they were subjected to treatment that was rather different to that afforded to other participants.

The Pride organisers have started to talk about politicisation.  It’s a feeble argument that does them no credit.  The four main political parties in Brighton had floats – even the Liberal Democrats, of whom nothing has been heard since last year’s local election rout, managed to field a presence.  Of those four parties, three are explicit supporters of a cuts agenda; the fourth, the Green Party, runs a minority administration in Brighton that is reluctantly making cuts.  Trade Unionists were out in force; the Queers Against Cuts float was due to be immediately behind the NUT.

It is to Green MP Caroline Lucas’ immense credit that she intervened on Queers Against Cuts’ behalf, but the damage was done.  And on Twitter and elsewhere, the Tory trolls have been out; QAC demonised as a small group hell-bent on disruption, spoiling Pride for the majority.  Except they weren’t – there’s no evidence to support that contention.  As far as I can see QAC were out to make a point and make a bit of noise – no different from other participants.

Moreover, the “politicisation” angle misses an essential point.  Pride is political.  A public event that celebrates equality and diversity must be political in the society in which we live, when inequality and prejudice remain that society’s default mode.  Pride started as a demonstration for equal treatment by the police, in the days when targeting gay men was still an officially-sanctioned tactic, and when the then Tory Government was entrenching homophobia through the notorious Section 28; as debates about equal marriage and issues like the way in which society treats disabled people or the homeless rage in modern Britain, it remains that any event that celebrates equality and diversity must be political.  The organisers, now perhaps mesmerised by that offensive phrase “the pink pound” seem to have lost sight of this.

As I said, a line has been crossed.  Pride, long a part of Brighton life, has become mainstream – more than one watcher commented on the commercialism of this year’s procession.  Add to that  a system of police intelligence-gathering that sustains and justifies itself by the collection of information on “activists” – the majority of whom have not been arrested and have no criminal record – and you have the recipe for events like today’s, in which permission to participate stops at the boundaries of political consensus.

It is ironic that organisers and police working together as they appear to have done today would have excluded, by the same rationale, the founders of Pride.  Perhaps today has seen the end of Pride as we have known it; a once-radical event made safe for neoliberalism which allows participants to congratulate themselves on being “edgy” while challenging nobody. When one sees reactionaries tweeting in defence of the spirit of Pride, one senses that the game is up.  And, as a Brightonian for more than a quarter of a century, I’d find that ineffably sad.

Anti-cuts queers harassed at Brighton Pride




The Queers Against The Cuts contingent at Brighton Pride were forced by stewards & police to the back of the march. Throughout the march they were kettled by police on foothorseback, subjected to repeated intimidation.

The group was peaceful & orderly. There was no justification for the way they were mistreated. No other political contingent was abused in this way. It marred what was otherwise a great parade.

The group might have been forced off the march completely had it not been for remonstrations with the police and stewards by Caroline Lucas MP & myself. Participating groups should not subjected to political vetting or censorship.

Queers Against The Cuts had valid points to make about the impact of the government's public spending cuts on services & grants to the LGBT community & to people with HIV, including homeless LGBT youth, LGBT refugees & disabled LGBT people. I support their stand.


The Darker Side of Pride Weekend ; This Weekend on “Out”


by formaldehyde on Sep.04, 2012, under News

Pride 2012 has been reported as a smashing success, with tens of thousands visiting the city for the weekend, and some of them shelling out for tickets and visiting the event in Preston Park. It was colourful, it was loud, and it was certainly a party atmosphere across the city.

But what hasn’t been reported quite so widely in the media is the other side of the Pride weekend. Sussex Police reported 47 arrests had been made, and considering the level of the celebrations, maybe this isn’t a shock. Passed out drunk people lined the streets at times, but this isn’t that new for Brighton on a busy weekend as we all know. More of a shock was the attempted political silencing and censorship of the Pride Parade itself. Previously the most political part of the weekend this 2012’s parade saw heavy handed policing and sneaky tactics on behalf of the organisers (now, of course, a private company run by the monopolistic cabal who own the majority of the “gay scene” and it’s only media outlet), designed to intimidate and silence a small group of activist.

With pride of place being given over to the floats of Nandos and the Co-op, you may have missed the small walking group shunted to the back of the parade and surrounded on all sides by police. They called themselves Queers Against the Cuts and were marching to highlight the impact of the government’s cuts to welfare, education et al, and to draw attention to a oft overlooked part of the LGBTQ community, the homeless, and the danger the new squatting laws will be placing them in. They had registered with Pride and planned to march peacefully to the park and then disperse.

But when they showed up on the day things were slightly different to what had been planned…

Join me, Formaldehyde, as I talk to Beth, one of the main organisers of the group about the harrassment they faced by the police and the organisers, why it happened the way it did, and how this impacts on Pride both here in Brighton and nation wide this Saturday on Out at 8.30pm. Will be a mixcloud link too as soon as possible.

And find out more about what happened here (Gscene), and here (socialist party and joint organisers of group)
:brighton, Brighton Pride, censorship, Cuts, Gay, Gay Brighton, Gay Pride, Gay scene, Government Cuts, homeless, LGBT, LGBTQ+, Political Discrimination, politics, Pride, Pride 2012, Pride CIC, Pride in Brighton and Hove, protest, Queer, Queers Agaisnt the Cuts, Squatters

Response to Pride Organisers and Police


At Brighton Pride an anti-cuts 'Queers Against the Cuts' bloc registered to march in the parade but was sent to the back by Pride organisers and Police. Participants were subjected to kettling and intimidation throughout the parade. See reports here and here. Peter Tatchell said,

"Throughout the march they were kettled by police on foot and horseback, and subjected to repeated intimidation. The group was peaceful and orderly. There was no justification for the way they were mistreated. No other political contingent was abused in this way. It marred what was otherwise a great parade.

"Participating groups should not be subjected to political vetting or censorship. I hope this was just a case of over-zealous, maverick stewarding and policing and not officially sanctioned by the Brighton Pride organisers."

Pride organisers have commented in G-Scene that the Queers Against the Cuts bloc was asked to move to the back of Pride because of concerns raised by the Police:

“It transpired that the group gave an open invite for people join them and Sussex Police raised some concerns about this. We were advised by Sussex Police to move them to the back of the parade, when stewards attempted to facilitate this the group declined to move at all.”

However the bloc organisers were always clear that individuals could join if they agreed with its message. The Labour Party, Tories and Liberal Democrats all extended open invites to members of the public to join their section of the parade; why were they not sent to the back? When the police called Beth, the main organiser, to introduce themselves prior to the parade they expressed no concerns about the bloc.

Chief Supt Graham Bartlett comments were also misleading, as they argue the use of horses and officers at the back of the parade was totally innocent:

“Police officers have always walked at the back in order to distinguish the parade from the rest of the public and to safely manage the parade through the streets to its destination in Preston Park, and to make sure there is a safe distance between the horses and members of the public.”

This says nothing about the Police kettling half the bloc, and nothing of why the bloc was relegated to the back in the first place, presumably for the reasons described by the organisers. More importantly, it doesn't at the very least acknowledge the intimidation felt by participants who were surrounded by police and four horses throughout the parade!

The main point needs to be repeated: Pride needs to reconnect with its campaigning roots at a time of significant attacks on the rights and services of LGBTQ people and communities. The impact of cuts in public services will affect LGBTQ people and communities especially hard. Raising the age for single room housing benefit, cuts and privatisation of the NHS, cuts in the public sector (with the best records in equalities policies), cuts to LGBT and youth services, and attacks on employment rights all stand to turn back the clock.

While significant legal advances have been made against discrimination, prejudice cannot be legislated away. More and more people are concluding that liberation has not been achieved, and that a mass movement is necessary to defend and extend the rights and services that have been won. Alongside the rest of the workers’ movement, the campaign needs to be waged against austerity and the phenomenal profits being accumulated by the super-rich at our expense.

Events at Brighton Pride this year are the result of the continued watering-down of the Pride celebration to little more than a billboard for big business, with organisers and police ensuring that even organised participation by anti-cuts campaigners, Socialists etc. faced intimidation, harassment and exclusion.

Peter Tatchell claims police kettled marchers from 'Queers Against the Cuts' on the Brighton Pride parade

Organisers of the Queers Against the Cuts walking tableau on the Brighton Pride Parade on September 1, have accused the police of kettling them on the march.



Brighton and Hove Socialist Party member Beth Granter had booked a place on the Pride Parade in order to march and protest against government cuts to public services. Pride itself was not a target of their protest.

During the week prior to the parade the organisers of Queers Against the Cuts were told by Pride they were in position number 50 on the parade, behind the contingent from the TUC.

Queers Against the Cuts organisers claim they were told in the hour prior to the Pride march setting off that they were being moved to the back of the parade. They were not happy. The departure of the Parade was delayed while the issue was resolved.

A Pride organiser accompanied by a police officer then told the organisers of Queers Against the Cuts that they were being removed from the parade.

Following an intervention from Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, the group were allowed to bring up the rear of the parade.


Queers Against Cuts organiser Beth Granter who paid the groups entry fee and mobilized online support for people to walk on the Parade, said:

"About 100 yards into the March on Marine Parade, some late comers to our group arrived, including a breast feeding woman with her baby and others with children.

"I was told by the Pride organiser if I didn't make them leave our whole group would be blocked.

"I explained I couldn't force people to go anywhere. Suddenly a row of police on horseback and foot ran into the middle of our group, and I was told I had to personally identify who was officially in the group to be let through.

"As everything had been arranged online I did not know anyone's faces. I managed to get most people out of the kettle but around 15 people were left behind.

"I was in tears and others were close to it, having been part of organising the group from the start and suddenly kettled for no reason."

Beth continued:
"I'm very hurt and upset at how I was treated and spoken to by Pride, how the rest of the group were treated, how we were given no reason for our sudden relegation to the back of the parade and our mistreatment by the police.

"Being surrounded by police on horses and on foot was unnecessary and too heavy handed. I was told other latecomers were allowed to join other groups such as The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour who had advertised on their facebook groups that people could join their marching tableaux.

"I believe the only reason we were treated this way is because we had political banners which challenged the status quo of a corporate sponsorship of Pride, and it has really shown the lack of political solidarity from Pride organisers."

Chief Superintendent, Graham Bartlett from Sussex Police, said:

"I'm aware that there has been a lot of social media talk around the actions of officers who were heading up the back of the parade along with the mounted Thames Valley officers.


"Police officers have always walked at the back in order to distinguish the parade from the rest of the public and to safely manage the parade through the streets to its destination in Preston Park, and to make sure there is a safe distance between the horses and members of the public.


"Those taking part in the parade register with the Pride organisers beforehand and the police assist them in keeping the parade moving and helping prevent it becoming larger and thus less manageable."


International Human Rights campaigner and Green Party member Peter Tatchell who marched on the parade on the Green Party float, said:

"The Queers Against the Cuts contingent at Brighton Pride were forced by stewards and police to the back of the march.

"Throughout the march they were kettled by police on foot and horseback, and subjected to repeated intimidation. The group was peaceful and orderly. There was no justification for the way they were mistreated. No other political contingent was abused in this way. It marred what was otherwise a great parade.

"The group might have been forced off the march completely had it not been for remonstration with the police and stewards by Caroline Lucas MP and myself.

"Brighton Pride should be welcoming and open to all LGBT organisations that defend the interests of our community.

"Participating groups should not be subjected to political vetting or censorship. I hope this was just a case of over-zealous, maverick stewarding and policing and not officially sanctioned by the Brighton Pride organisers."

"Queers Against the Cuts had valid points to make about the impact of the government's public spending cuts on services and grants to people with HIV and to the LGBT community, including on homeless LGBT youth, LGBT refugees and disabled LGBT people. I support this stand. Coalition cuts are damaging and harmful to many vulnerable people, both LGBT and straight."


A spokesperson for Brighton Pride, said:

"Recognising Pride itself was born out of protest, Pride Brighton Hove welcomed all those that registered groups to the parade. 'Queers Against the Cuts' were no exception.

"We can confirm that we accepted their entry on to the parade. It transpired that the group gave an open invite for people join them and Sussex Police raised some concerns about this.

We were advised by Sussex Police to move them to the back of the parade, when stewards attempted to facilitate this the group declined to move at all. The organiser was then informed that if they didn't agree to move then we would require them to leave the parade. At this time the organiser agreed to move."


A spokesperson for Sussex Police, said:

"In the run up to Pride in one of the many planning meetings between Sussex Police and Pride organisers, safety issues were discussed around the 'Queers Against Cuts' float and their open invite on the internet for people to join them on the day.

"As one of the partner agencies responsible for the safety of the parade as it moves around the city on its way to Preston Park, Sussex Police planning officers suggested to Pride that if a protest were to take place, for safety reasons the float would be better placed at the back of the parade, whereby we could facilitate it as well as the parade itself.

"The ultimate decision on the placing of floats on the day is a Pride one.

"Sussex Police did not have an issue with a protest float being at Pride and welcomes peaceful protest. In fact, representatives from 'Queers Against Cuts' had contacted our Protest Liaison Officers to make their intentions know."

Brighton & Hove Socialist Party have pointed out to Gscene that all political parties extended an invitation on their facebook groups to anyone to join them on the parade and they were not moved to the back of the parade.

James Ledward the editor of Gscene magazine, said:

"Pride is a broad church and I defend the right of Queers against the Cuts to have their voice heard along with every other voice on the Pride Parade.

"I asked Davina Sparkle who was announcing the Parade entries as they passed the Brighton Wheel in front of the Mayor to make a special mention for the Queers Against the Cuts walking tableaux and acknowledge their presence on the Parade.

"Their voices are as important as everyone elses."

Brighton Pride Parade: Queers Against the Cuts kettled after steward questioned whether something ‘so overtly political’ should be on the parade




Photo below: Peter Tatchell with Green MP Caroline Lucas & Green MEP Keith Taylor
Members of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts were kettled and persistently harassed by the Police at Brighton Pride Parade last Saturday. London Queers Against the Cuts, who were guests of the Brighton group observed the kettling and also experienced the harassment first hand

“There seemed to have been trouble before the parade moved off – with our section mysteriously being moved to the back of the parade.” said Richard Farnos, London QUAC Co-Convenor.

The background and experiences of Brighton Queers Against the Cuts is described in  Beth Granter blog, the principal Brighton QUAC organiser.

“But the real trouble began” said Richard “as the parade moved off when some latecomers sort to join the group.  Led by a belligerent steward (who at one point threaten to have me thrown off the march for asking why people couldn’t join the parade), a group of police on horseback and foot cut in front us and began to kettle the group.”

A member of the London group went forward to inform the organisers of the Parade what was going on, however he largely found them unhelpful.

However Caroline Lucas and Peter Tatchell who were marching with the Green Party returned and tried to reason with the Police and stewards.  Peter Tatchell pointed out that people were being allowed to join other parts of the parade and that assertions made by the stewards that thousands would join in were ridiculous.
Richard Farnos observed  “In a parallel discussion I had with another steward she questioned whether something ‘so overtly political’ should be on the parade at all and even suggested that somehow we would let fascists join our group on the march!”

As a result of Carol’s and Peter’s intervention the Queers Against the Cuts groups were allowed to continue but so did the harassment – all the way to Preston Park.  The contingent was surrounded by Police and people were prevented from joining.

“I saw people physically thrown back into the crowds,” Richard continued ” Indeed the behaviour of the police was reckless  and dangerous, at one point the horses were so close to us that one licked my neck.  We had older and disabled people with us and one stumble and fall and we would have all been under the horses.”

“I have been a political activist since the eighties and have been on many a demo.  The police behaviour does not surprise me.” Richard Farnos concluded  'What is a new experience however was the complete lack of support from the Pride organisers.  Are they so enamoured with the corporate pound that the plight of HIV+ people who will lose their benefits; or young LGBT people who will become homeless has no interest to them?  The day when Pride stops being political is the point when Pride will become pointless!”

The BBC Carries the Police Version


 

Police at Brighton and Hove's Pride festival have defended their tactics after complaints they had "kettled" people taking part in the parade.


There were allegations on social networking sites that some participants had been penned in because they had political banners.

But police said they had walked at the back of Saturday's parade, as in past years, to "safely manage" the event which is attended by tens of thousands.

By 21:15 BST there had been 24 arrests.

Sussex Police said they were for suspected offences of public disorder, possession of drugs, criminal damage, ABH, affray and theft.

One participant from Queers Against Cuts said her experience of being surrounded by police on horseback and on foot was "unnecessary" and "heavy-handed".

Money problems


Ch Supt Graham Bartlett said: "I'm aware that there has been a lot of social media talk around the actions of officers who were heading up the back of the parade along with the mounted Thames Valley officers.

"Police officers have always walked at the back in order to distinguish the parade from the rest of the public and to safely manage the parade through the streets to its destination in Preston Park, and to make sure there is a safe distance between the horses and members of the public.

"Those taking part in the parade register with the Pride organisers beforehand and the police assist them in keeping the parade moving and helping prevent it becoming larger and thus less manageable."

Brighton's Pride event is celebrating its 20th year. The event was free until 2010, but was dogged by money problems and complaints about overcrowding and litter.

Revellers turned out in various costumes, including a man dressed as the Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee year.

Trevor Edwards, the director of Pride Brighton and Hove, described the event as the "highlight in the city's cultural calendar for LGBT residents, friends and visitors alike".

The parade was followed by a ticket-only party in Preston Park featuring a set by DJ Fatboy Slim.

X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke had also been due to play but had to cancel because of "technical and production issues" on the site, her PR representative said.

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