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Baltimore Pride organizers look to move future block party after fight, mace sprayed

Baltimore Pride seeking ways to keep annual block party safe
Baltimore Pride seeking ways to keep annual block party safe 01:52

BALTIMORE - Baltimore Pride organizers were close to moving the block party for security reasons but, last weekend, chaos ensued when mace was sprayed into the crowd during a fight near the main stage.

Police told WJZ that a fight between two groups ignited panic from those enjoying Saucy Santana, one of the headline performers. WJZ obtained video of the incident unfolding.

Several people were treated for injuries. 

"We want to make the event more secure for our participants because their security is the priority for us," said Maryland Pride Center CEO Cleo Manago.

New video shows chaos at Baltimore Pride Block Party 02:11

The chaos that ensued only impacted a small section of the block party and the weekend's celebrations continued.   

However, at the time, there was cause for concern.

"There were some folks who could not breathe, some folks who could not see for a period of time," said Tramour Wilson, from the Maryland Pride Center.

"We were concerned because we had heard that the police were gassing people and the term chemical agent sounded like something to be very concerned about," Manago added.

Officials with the Pride Center of Maryland tell WJZ talks about changing the location of the block party that happened before the incident occurred. 

"There are some people that wanted to stay on Charles Street, particularly people that financially benefited from it being on Charles Street who made a big deal about it being moved," Manago said.

Organizers are starting conversations about potential changes for next year's Baltimore celebration.

"The whole reason we had the conversation about security was to make sure people are safe," Manago said. "Now that we had this incident, that kind of proves our point, and when we indeed move the event to another location despite the people that want to stay in this open and risky environment, they will go okay we get it now we see the importance of a safety context and maybe we will get less pushback next time."

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