Activists arrested at Glasgow Pride

by Connor Beaton

At least five people, including anti-fascist activists marching in a bloc organised by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), were arrested at the Pride Parade in Glasgow.

Two people, including an IWW member, were arrested after police confronted an activist in the IWW bloc holding a placard reading “These Faggots Fight Fascists”.

Three other LGBTQI+ activists were separately arrested while protesting the participation of Police Scotland in the parade.

Members of the Scottish Socialist Party were among the anti-fascist and queer activists marching in the IWW’s “Red & Black Bloc”.

A spokesperson for Clydeside IWW told the SSP: “We utterly condemn the arrests of three trans activists and two others, one a minor, on trumped up charges.

“Politics is integral to Pride, and it cannot be separated from all struggles against oppression, including anti-fascist struggle.

“We find it completely bizarre that Glasgow Pride later refused entry to anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter activists. This amounts to an erasure of queer struggle.

“The fact that the police claim to stand up and support LGBT activists is shown to be a complete sham by these arrests.”

In a statement, activists from Edinburgh Action for Trans Health (ATH) said they also condemned “police violence” at Pride.

They said: “Both the stop and search targeting known activists, and the arrests of our comrades protesting the presence of police in the pride parade, is disgusting.

“The arrestees were marching with the IWW-organised black & red bloc, which was banned from Glasgow Green by the Pride organisers for being anti-fascist.

“In doing so, and in allowing police to march, Glasgow Pride is complicit in the violence we have witnessed today, and betrays a fundamental principle of Pride that goes back to its roots in the Stonewall riots: there can be no pride in police or prisons.”

Police Scotland’s media team declined to provide a statement to the SSP on arrests at Pride.

16 thoughts on “Activists arrested at Glasgow Pride

  1. The pride organisers openly said there was to be no political gesturing or if anyone protested against any pf the organisations involved they would not be allowed part of the parade and removed.

    Whilst i completely disagree with the stance, it is also part of the agreement with the police etc to allow the parade.

    I dont agree with this, many people dont go because of it.

    With this in mind… Why bother going? When the outcome was inevitable.

    1. It has a lot to do with what people believe the purpose of Pride is. To my mind, it is about us being able to have a reminder of what we have fought for both personally and collectively and is a chance to protest society’s continued need to change. It is by definition, intensely political.

      The origins are a protest against brutal policing. We have a Tory government in coalition with unabashed homophobes, and a PM who as Home Secretary was responsible for a litany of misery – degrading, racist, homophobic and transphobic treatment of people who’ve committed no crime – aided and abetted by the cops.

      There is LOTS to protest at Pride. Which is why Pride is and remains a protest. Which are liberating, passionate, raw and unkempt affairs.

      Don’t bang activists up. Welcome them in.

  2. I saw this group at Pride today and most of the participants with me did a double take. If you were the group in black with your faces covered, I think people’s initial reaction is fear. I myself mistook you for a far right group and, for the first time ever at Pride, I felt really frightened. I don’t disagree with what you stand for, and think fighting fascism is admirable. I can only suggest that the group I saw struck fear into people, particularly as their faces were covered. I can’t comment on thepolice issue as I wasn’t there. I’d just suggest a less threatening look, as it’s very sinister, and isn’t in-line with what you stand for.

    1. This is exactly how we felt by the IWW arrival at the parade. We were standing as a family at the front of the parade a good 20mins before it marched off. The police were at the front ‘on parade’. As the IWW arrived about 10mins before the parade started, we held our children closer to us. We didn’t know who they were, trying to read their banners & see what they were about but with their faces covered, hoods up, they looked unwelcoming & walked in front of the police to get to the front. They appeared to us as though they protesting against the parade (or maybe it was just the police) they certainly didn’t look as though they were there to take part.

  3. So are the IWW now telling us who can and can’t be gay, by objecting to any police marching in the parade or seeking preferential treatment by not having police escorts the parade as the do with any other parade. Double standards that reek of facsicm were all equal but it seems the IWW want to be more equal than others.

    1. Police were not ‘marching’ in the pride parade. They were targeting – it’s a common Police tactic used against groups or individuals the police don’t like – for whatever reason.) There were plenty of Pride stewards in attendance and the march was light hearted. From what I saw the police only ‘escorted’ this one group! And I don’t think anyone can tell another person if they can or can’t be gay!

  4. Thanks for your comment, Hazie. There were no Scottish Socialist Party members wearing masks at Glasgow Pride. If other people want to wear masks, that’s their decision – and one which is obviously open to criticism from others in the LGBTQ community, but which doesn’t begin to legitimise police violence against them.

  5. This happened in 2013 when Secular Scotland marched in Glasgow Pride. Supporters carried various banners challenging the Church. A steward working for Pride Glasgow, seized two banners which carried slogans saying: CATHOLIC BOYS PHYSICALLY CASTRATED BECAUSE THEY’RE GAY’, referring to boys castrated without parental consent in Dutch Catholic institutions: ‘BABIES STOLEN FROM MOTHERS IN CATHOLIC HOSPITALS’, referring to thousands of babies stolen from ‘unsuitable’ mothers during the Franco era in Spain and ‘CARDINAL O’BRIEN KNEW ABOUT FATHER LYNAGH. IS THIS MORAL?’ referring to the re-employment by O’Brien of a convicted paedophile.

    The steward explained he was responding to complaints from the Episcopal Church that the banners “were offensive to people of ‘faith’.” I was warned by a Chief Inspector that he was concerned a group of Catholics were waiting for the parade to enter George Square and felt their removal would avoid confrontation. He later came back to apologise and conceded that the Pride march was an appropriate place to protest; that there was nothing to complain about, adding: “It’s your day”. The Steward, however, refused to return the banners.

    These actions are symptomatic of the Church and the ‘Control Left’.

    1. >>he was responding to complaints from the Episcopal Church

      You sure it was the Episcopal Church? I’m not saying that you’re necessarily wrong but the only source I can find for the quotes you mention is the one you quoted from. The Episcopal Church is the only Anglican church to allow gay marriage, I think Glasgow St Mary’s Cathedral is also the first Anglican church in Britain to perform a same sex marriage, and has an openly gay provost who has been there since 2006. The Episcopalian church is also not a Catholic church.

      Assuming that you’re right and that did happen 4 years ago (but it really sounds like a steward overstepping the mark and trying to justify it) – surely you’re damaging the cause by condemning one of the few churches that is currently at the forefront of trying to reforming religion to recognise LGBTI rights and is also massively controversial in trying to bring Christians, Muslims, Atheist and everyone else togehter?

  6. I don’t remember any support from any from any political faction of any kind during our struggle to to have a properly funded Gender Reassignment Protocol in Scotland. Nobody gave a fuck.

  7. Thanks for clarifying. It was a frightening moment when the gang in masks appeared, especially given heightened fear at the moment. Sounds like it wasn’t SSW though so apols for confusion. x

  8. This sounds like the activities of a police state where the police dictate who will be allowed to take part, what banners will be permitted and of course this would include any criticism of the police presence or activities on and around the parade with the police being the only arbiters of what is allowable activity and protest. The police have appointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner in effect.

  9. I think GAY pride has transformed society. We have gotten to a place where someone’s sexuality and gender assignment is not an issue especially to many young folk. This has been a revolution of activists yes but also one of glitter bombs, rainbows and a celebration of all our individuality. Thank you for showing us the way.

  10. Pride should be a celebration of liberation and a continuous political protest against inequality and injustice. While not everyone would agree with the views of IWW from my observations their protest was entirely peaceful. As it happens I was marching with a group just in front of them and thought that the Police presence around them was disproportionate and unnecessarily provocative. The response of Pride Scotland in supporting what some would consider avoidable arrests is disappointing.

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