Civil Rights

Video from the protests against the “Straight Pride” Parade in Boston

The same right-wing neo-fascists who have staged rallies in Boston and Providence rebranded themselves (poorly) and held a “Straight Pride” Parade in Boston as a parody of the annual Boston Pride Parade. The parade route chosen was the same as that used for Boston Pride. See also: Photos from the protests against the “Straight Pride” Parade in Boston This documentary

September 1, 2019, 10:40 am

By Steve Ahlquist

The same right-wing neo-fascists who have staged rallies in Boston and Providence rebranded themselves (poorly) and held a “Straight PrideParade in Boston as a parody of the annual Boston Pride Parade. The parade route chosen was the same as that used for Boston Pride.

See also: Photos from the protests against the “Straight Pride” Parade in Boston

This documentary from Rod Weber, Straight Pride is Hate Pride: Putting Boston’s Straight Pride Parade in Context, demonstrates the connections between previous pro-fascist rallies in our area and this latest “straight pride” iteration. Below is my coverage of previous neo-fascist rallies in Boston and Providence over the last two years:

In response to the “Straight Pride” Parade, members of the LGBTQ+ community and anti-fascist groups and individuals staged at least two counter protests. One was a rally held held in the Boston City Hall Plaza at 9am, calling itself Fight Supremacy: Hands Off Our Pride. This event was planned to be non-confrontational. The “Straight Pride” Parade was planning to end their route in the Plaza, and the organizers of the Fight Supremacy event concluded before they arrived.

Before the Fight Supremacy event began, two of the organizers, Chastity Bowick and Willie Burnley, spoke briefly with reporters about what they hoped to accomplish with their rally.

“We’re doing [a rally] in support of the queer and brown and black community of Boston, which has been increasingly under attack in recent years by rising white nationalism, which is a national issue that has been particularly localized in Boston,” said Burnley. “We’re here to celebrate our community. We’re here to show up in the face of hate with love and joy and not letting them steal our happiness.”

“When were you ever fired or persecuted because you were straight?” asked Bowick. “Many of my transgender sisters of color have been murdered over the years. It’s been increasingly volatile to our community. We have so many things to fight for. You have 365 days a year of white privilege and we have one day of a Pride Parade that we get to celebrate ourselves.”

One of the organizers of the event was Monica Cannon-Grant, of Black Lives Matter in Boston, who organized the 45,000 person strong Fight Supremacy counter-protest against neo-fascists in Boston two years ago, held in the wake of Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer.

At first, Cannon-Grant wanted nothing to do with organizing a rally against the “Straight Pride” Parade, but, “then I realized it’s the same people we marched against in 2017. They’re changing their name but it’s the same hatred. It’s the same white supremacy, guys who like, I’m guessing, don’t get laid, who are really angry for nothing.

“So I was like, okay, I want to lead the charge on this but also I’m a cis, heterosexual black woman,” continued Cannon-Grant. “How can I do this in a way that’s not more harmful? So what I did was, I said, I’ll organize it, because a lot of people know me with name recognition, but everybody on this program will dictate what it looks like… This is what it looks like to be an accomplice, but sit the hell down, right?”

“We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous, don’t fuck with us!”

The other event I was aware of was more confrontational in nature. Straight Pride is Hate Pride was organized by Solidarity Against Hate-Boston. Hundreds of people gathered alongside the parade route, both hardcore antifa folks and allies.

These protesters were confronted by a staggering number of police, and the scene was constantly monitored by a helicopter above. The music you hear is not from the parade, but from a marching band allied with the counter protesters.

The police almost immediately began to provoke, assault and arrest counter protesters. Channel 10 Boston reports that 36 people were arrested, and four police officers were injured.

In the video below, Boston Police Officers are surrounding and arresting a person by kneeling on their head, forcing the person’s face into the pavement. Two other people are being arrested behind the officers in the frame. I have no idea what precipitated the actions of the officers, but if what I observed later is any indication, it wasn’t much.

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

George Orwell

A short time later several Boston Police officers stormed the crowd, violently pushing people out of the way and grabbing a person. They dragged that person out of the crowd, surrounding them and roughing them up, and confiscated a bullhorn. They then released the person, telling them that they needed a permit for a bullhorn. Basically the police mugged a person and took their property.

More arrests. This time Police drove their bicycles into a line of counter protesters and attempted to bully their way through. At least five people were arrested when the police started this fight. The parade was over a half hour away, so essentially we had people peacefully assembling being attacked and arrested by the police.

The crowd was gathered along the entire parade route adjacent to the Boston Commons, so as people were arrested in one area, the police marched them down the parade route to police vehicles, over and over again.

The police also confiscated items that people had bought to protect themselves, like the plastic shields below.

But that wasn’t the only thing happening. Throughout all the police harassment, assaults and arrests, the counter protest maintained a high level of joy and energy, with a prominent use of megaphones.

“We’re here, we’re queer, we’re socialists, don’t fuck with us!”

“Get up! Get down! Anti-fascists run this town!”

“No justice, no peace! Alt-right get off our streets!”

Messages of support from students in the dorms of Emerson College, across from the Boston Commons and alongside the parade route:

The events weren’t without levity. Here, two officers try to figure out how to lock the temporary barriers they are moving:

Oh yeah! There was also a three minute long fascist parade. Unfortunately for the image of the Boston Police, they didn’t seem to present as security for the parade marchers, but as participants in the parade themselves. On the other hand, given the behavior of the Boston Police towards the counter protesters, perhaps this isn’t so far from the truth.

A quick personal note on all the photographers and media marching with the “Straight Pride” Parade: Many of you would-be Leni Riefenstahls are part of the problem.

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