LA Pride will now be a solidarity protest march against police brutality

Protests could lead to spread of COVID-19

As Los Angeles celebrates 50 years since its first Pride parade, organizers of the event announced a change of plans on Wednesday. The parade was initially canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now it's back on — as a protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Christopher Street West (CSW), the nonprofit that organizes the annual parade, said a solidarity march will replace the parade on Sunday, June 14, in response to "racial injustice, systemic racism and all forms of oppression." Last month, organizers canceled the event and moved the celebrations online to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Since the death of George Floyd last week, protests have erupted in cities across the U.S. and around the world. Hundreds of arrests have been made in Los Angeles alone, despite the protests being characterized as largely peaceful.

Activists plan to assemble peacefully June 14 at 10 a.m. local time at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. in Los Angeles, near the location of the first-ever legal Pride Parade that took place in 1970, one year after the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York. In a news release Wednesday, organizers highlighted the overlapping missions of Pride and the Black community.

As dozens of Tampa Police officers stood in riot gear on the outskirts of a police brutality protest on Sunday, May 21, 2020, activists lined up to show the officers their signs and messages, one of which said, "Black Trans Lives Matter." CBS News' Li Cohen

"Fifty years ago Christopher Street West took to the streets of Hollywood Blvd in order to peacefully protest against police brutality and oppression," said Estevan Montemayor, president of the CSW Board of Directors.

"It is our moral imperative to honor the legacy 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."

It's unclear whether the march is a collaboration with Black Lives Matter. The L.A. division of the organization did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.

Many supporters expressed their concerns on Twitter over holding a mass gathering while the city is still under partial lockdown orders. Organizers stressed the importance of wearing face masks, in accordance with California Department of Public Health guidelines, but did not specify if any special coronavirus-related safety measures would be put in place.

Health officials have warned that a resurgence of cases in cities where protesters gathered could lead to a need for further shutdowns.

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