Five LGBT+ activists have been arrested after protesting police involvement in Glasgow Pride.
Glasgow Pride decided to allow Police Scotland to lead this years Pride march through Glasgow, divorcing Pride from its origins as an assertive response to police brutality and homophobia and cementing it’s image as a fluffy, corporate, apolitical parade.
LGBT+ activists from Clydeside IWW organised a Red & Black Bloc, with the aim of linking Pride to broader anti-oppression struggles and opposing the police presence on the march. Before the march began, two IWW members were arrested (one aged 16) for holding a sign reading “These Faggots Fight Fascists”. One arrestee was a trained legal observer and had been trying to assist the young person who was experiencing harassment from police, before they themselves were taken to the ground and handcuffed. A statement from the adult arrestee has been publicised by Clydeside IWW.
Later on, three trans activists from the Free Pride movement were arrested. Ellie Mulreany from NUS Scotland LGBT+ Committee told libcom.org the arrests took place after Free Pride attempted to “block the march to protest police involvement in an event that exists as a result of police brutality against the LGBT+ community”. Ellie gave us the following account of the arrests:
Initially we got into the street ahead of the police bloc and put our banners up, started out chanting. Immediately met by physical intimidation and aggression from uniformed officers. Protestors were pushed and shoved and dragged off the street, with no warnings or attempts to pacify.
We responded peacefully but confidently by re-engaging into the street, which caused officers to respond with further force, resulting in two of the protestors going prone to protect themselves from further physical aggression.
Officers then dragged them to the fence and on to their feet to cuff them, one was choked against the fence before being dragged to the ground again. A third was then arrested for continuing the chanting with the megaphone. None of them were read their rights, given a reason for arrest, or an explanation of what to expect next.
The Free Pride protestors were charged with breach of the peace (a criminal offence in Scotland), and released later that night. The two activists from the IWW block were held over night. The adult was released the following day and the 16 year old was held for two nights, appearing in court on Monday. It is believed the two arrestees from the IWW bloc are facing charges relating to hate speech, on account of the use of “faggots” in the sign.
A solidarity demonstration was held outside the court this morning, to support the arrestees. Police Scotland have since expressed their disappointment that the 16 year old was granted bail, and not remanded in custody.