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Protest briefly mars San Francisco pride parade on 50th Stonewall anniversary

Millions turn out for NYC Pride Day parade

A group of protesters scuffled with police and blocked an intersection of San Francisco's Market Street Sunday, bringing the annual San Francisco Pride Parade to a halt for more than an hour, CBS San Francisco reports. About 12 protesters broke down barricades and lay down, linking their arms covered by protected pipes painted with the rainbow colors, at around 11 a.m. The San Francisco Chronicle put the number at 40.

Several other protesters pushed and shoved a contingent of San Francisco police, throwing water bottles at them.

The parade was one of many nationwide celebrating the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on New York City's Stonewall Inn. The uprising that began at the tavern when patrons resisted officers on June 28, 1969 is seen as the start of the modern gay rights movement.

The San Francisco protesters were cleared from the street and the parade began moving again at around noon.

Police took two people into custody during the incident. One officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The group reportedly was protesting the corporate involvement in the parade, which stirred up controversy in the weeks leading up to the event.

In addition, demonstrators handed out a letter calling for the march to exclude police, saying they didn't agree with inviting officers to mark the anniversary of a clash with authorities.

A contingent of Google employees petitioned the Pride parade's board of directors to revoke Google's sponsorship over what they called harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ people on YouTube and other Google platforms.

San Francisco Pride declined to revoke the sponsorship or remove the company from the parade, but Pride officials said the Google critics could protest the company's policies as part of the parade's "resistance contingent."

The parade attracted an estimated 700,000 people to the streets of San Francisco and politicians including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Governor and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris, who is among the current front runners for the Democratic nomination for president.

Exuberant crowds carrying rainbow colors filled New York City streets Sunday for one of the largest pride  parades in the history of the gay-rights movement. Marchers and onlookers took over much of midtown Manhattan with a procession that lasted hours. The parade in New York and others like it across the nation concluded a month of events marking the anniversary.

Participants take part in 2019 World Pride NYC and Stonewall 50th LGBTQ Pride Parade in New York
Participants take part in the 2019 World Pride NYC and Stonewall 50th LGBTQ Pride Parade in New York on June 30, 2019 JEENAH MOON / REUTERS

Alyssa Christianson, 29, of New York City, was topless, wearing just sparkly pasties and boy shorts underwear. A Pride flag was tied around her neck like a cape.

"I've been to the Pride parade before, but this is the first year I kind of wanted to dress up and get into it," she said.

Christianson said she was concerned that the movement could suffer setbacks during the Trump administration, which has moved to revoke newly won health care protections for transgender people, restrict their presence in the military and withdraw federal guidance that trans students should be able to use bathrooms of their choice.

"I'm definitely a little scared of how things are going, just the anger and violence that comes out of it and just the tone of conversation about it. We've come so far, especially in the last few decades, that I don't want to see that repressed in any way."

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker chose the parade day to sign an executive order creating a task force to study the rights of transgender students. The task force will look at what schools are doing to promote LGBTQ rights to make sure students have "welcoming" and "inclusive" environments.

In Chicago's parade, the city's first openly gay mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was one of seven grand marshals. Lightfoot, who took office in May, walked alongside her wife and wore a "Chicago Proud" T-shirt with rainbow lettering. The couple held hands at times, drawing cheers from onlookers. The procession was cut short as thunderstorms rolled through the area, forcing police to cancel the event about three hours after it began.

The larger New York Pride parade had 677 contingents, including community groups, major corporations and cast members from FX's "Pose." Organizers expected at least 150,000 people to march, with hundreds of thousands more lining the streets to watch.

Other Stonewall commemorations in New York included rallies, parties, film showings and a human rights conference. The celebration coincided with WorldPride, an international LGBTQ event that started in Rome in 2000 and was held in New York this past week.

The New York City celebrations wrapped up Sunday night with a closing ceremony in Times Square featuring speeches and performances by Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Melanie C, MNEK, Jake Shears and others.

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