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'Giving in to fear': Anger as Paris gay pride cut back
Gay Pride Paris 2015. Photo: AFP

'Giving in to fear': Anger as Paris gay pride cut back

Oliver Gee · 30 Jun 2016, 09:28

Published: 30 Jun 2016 09:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Jun 2016 09:28 GMT+02:00

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The Paris gay pride parade (or la marche des fiertés as it's known in French) will still take place on Saturday - but the course will only be half as long as in previous years. 
Authorities have reportedly cited concerns for the safety of the participants in the march, following the attack in Orlando in the US earlier this month that saw 49 people killed.  
"We received this news with a slight dose of anger," Amanda Miguel of gay rights group Inter-LGBT told BFMTV
The march has already been put back a week by Paris authorities due to the clashes with the Euro 2016 football tournament, which has seen police stretched to their limits already.
The parade this year will be for 2.5 kilometres long, and will run along the River Seine from the Louvre to Bastille, rather than from Montparnasse to Bastille as was the plan. 
Photo: France 3
The decision comes after two weeks of negotiations between gay rights groups and the Paris police, who initially tried to postpone the event until September. 
With the event already set to take on a less vibrant tone after the Orlando massacre - indeed participants are being encouraged to wear black armbands in memory of the victims - some members of the gay community are irate that French authorities appear to be giving in to fear. 
"Giving in to fear, giving in the LGBT-phobes, this is just giving up on our struggles, our battles, our rights to live, and our diversity," read a note on the LGBT rights group Acthe.
"Giving in to fear is letting terrorism win."
Brigitte Goldberg, the president of Trans-Europe, said that "everything has been done to minimize the significance of the event". 
Bryan Pirolli, who runs the Paris tour group The Gay Locals, said he understood the concerns over security but didn't think shortening the parade was the right solution. 
"Would we cut any other manifestation short because of such concerns?" he told The Local. 
Story continues below…
"It seems to be sending the wrong message, like we are giving into the fear, and I'm a little disappointed. Still, I am proud of how Paris expressed solidarity with Orlando after the shootings, and I hope that message still comes through loud and clear during the march, however short it will be."
The gay pride parade is a hugely significant date in the calendar for members of the LGBT community, and commemorates the Stonewall riots, a crucial turning point in modern LGBT social movements.
The Paris event will begin at 2pm on Saturday, with the actual march setting off from the Louvre on the right bank at 2.30pm. A live concert is scheduled from 4pm to 10pm at Bastille, where the parade ends. 
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