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Pride Parade Halted Briefly By Black Lives Matter Demonstrators

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Downtown Minneapolis helped host the 2017 Twin Cities Pride Festival this weekend, and it's been a year unlike any other.

Thousands of people gathered along Hennepin Avenue Sunday morning for the annual Pride parade, and shortly after it started, the parade came to a halt.  Black Lives Matter demonstrators jumped ahead of the parade's leadoff vehicle, an unmarked police squad car.

They were upset with organizers for including officers in the parade, especially in the wake of the acquittal of the officers who shot Philando Castile. The parade was delayed an hour as marchers stopped to rally at each intersection.

With a mobile microphone and speaker, demonstrators demanded police officers be removed from the parade.  They then staged a die-in, and then a moment of silence for people who've been affected by police violence. The crowd looked on.

Bethany Piety of Minneapolis says she didn't mind at all.

"I completely understand why they are here, why they need to have their voices heard. There's a lot of people who are confused right now but I definitely support their right to be here," Bethany Piety of Minneapolis said.

While most people quietly looked on as the parade was stalled, some just wanted the show to go on.  Teddy from St. Paul said it tainted a tradition.

"It's like this is our day, our time, this is what we're fighting for. What they're stopping the parade on, this is why we are out here 30, 40 years and it's not necessary," Teddy said.

After an hour of delays, the demonstrators cleared the parade route. Dot Belstler is the executive director of Twin Cities Pride.

"People are allowed to protest, it's great and I think people were really respectful of that and now it's time for a parade," Beltsler said.

And with that, the show did go on.  Instead of leading off the march as once planned, officers marched midway through the parade, showing off their colors and receiving some hugs. The pomp, the circumstance, it was a party delayed but a celebration still had.


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