By: Lindsay Newman
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced Friday morning that the Toronto Police will not be participating in this year’s Pride Parade.
“We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided. To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride Parade,” Saunders said in the statement.
In January, Pride Toronto voted to ban police floats from the annual event.
Black Lives Matter protested during the Toronto’s Pride Parade last summer and resumed after Pride Toronto’s then executive director Matthieu Chantelois signed a list of demands by the group.
Demands from Black Lives Matter included the banning of police floats and banners from parades and Marches.
Humber student Yalini Kandasamy, 22, said she hopes that no one will feel excluded because of the decision.
“Everyone should have their opportunity to have pride in who they are as a person. I hope that this decision does not take away freedom of expression for some.”
Kandasamy also said that if a police officer is a part of the LGBTQ community, this decision could cause those officers to feel excluded
The chief’s decision comes days after the Halifax police made a decision to no longer participate in Halifax Pride.
Catherine Arezou, a 24-year-old student at McMaster University, said that this decision is a message to society about police behaviour.
“Police wrongfully target these communities so their discomfort is justified and their finally taking a stand on police brutality,” said Arezou.
Toronto Pride this year is from June 1 until June 25, where Toronto Police will still provide security.