Parade start-time changed to reduce attendance
London – 9 July 2012
According to an email sent to Peter Tatchell by a senior Mayor of London advisor, City Hall deliberately changed the start-time of the World Pride parade in London last Saturday “to attempt to reduce numbers.” It intentionally sought to deter people from attending. A copy of the email follows below.
“This email suggests that the Mayor’s office never wanted a big, spectacular World Pride. City Hall appears to have forced deliberate changes to deter attendance and cut numbers on spurious health and safety grounds,” said Mr Tatchell.
“It seems likely that the Mayor’s advisors were not unhappy with the shambles and bad publicity around World Pride. They appear to have been intent on making the event smaller, more manageable and easier to control. It’s appalling that the city authorities wanted to downscale London’s premier LGBT celebration.
“Presumably Boris Johnson was aware of what was going on. Did he approve it?
“Together with his non-attendance at World Pride, this bid to slash numbers is a big blow to the Mayor’s gay-friendly credentials. His reputation has been holed below the water-line for many LGBT people. They blame him for not doing more to facilitate the event’s success.
“I am very disappointed with Boris. After persuading him to support same-sex marriage in 2010, I expected him to be more supportive of Word Pride and London’s LGBT community.
“The argument that World Pride had to be scaled back on health and safety grounds is nonsense. The police say Pride is one of the safest, most trouble-free events held in London. Previously officers have adopted a very low presence, confident that Pride has no safety issues. In fact, Pride attendees are so well behaved that the event could easily take place with no police presence and only a handful of stewards,” said Tatchell.
Copy of the email from Daniel Ritterband, one of the Mayor’s closest advisors, Director of Marketing and 2012 Communications:
Are you aware of the call to do a sit-in at the start of the procession on sat morning?
As you’re aware, the timing had to be brought forward to attempt to reduce numbers; because health & safety provisions had not been implemented. A sit in/delay is likely to send us down a scenario that could see people hurt/injured; due to overcrowding.
As you can imagine, this is making the police really nervous about public safety (think Love Parade). And making me worried about the international reputation of London. The worst thing for anyone is images of confrontation between police/revellers.
Would you be willing to attempt to dissuade people from doing this?
Look forward to hearing from you.
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