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Protesters clashed with police Sunday at the 49th annual San Francisco Pride parade and at least 12 demonstrators sat down in the street with arms linked, blocking the route to protest the involvement of police and corporations including Google.
A list of demands circulating on Twitter demanded “no corporations in Pride,” a nod to Google’s sponsorship of the parade, which some employees of the company had opposed in a petition weeks before the event.
Critics have pointed out examples of hate speech toward LGBTQ people circulating on YouTube and other Google platforms.
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In a letter appealing to the Pride parade’s board of directors last Wednesday, a group of 140 Google employees asked that the parade revoke Google’s sponsorship of the event but the board declined to do so. Disgruntled employees opted to organize a protest even after Google told its employees that doing so would violate the company’s communications policy and code of conduct to protest the company while representing the brand at the parade.
The list of demands also included stipulations against law enforcement, calling for “no police within the Pride Parade and no police presence at any Pride celebration, march or demonstration. The system of policing upholds white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, gender binaries, and capitalist rule.”
The San Francisco Police Department did take part in the parade which attracted an estimated 1 million people, dedicating cruisers and vehicles decorated with rainbow-colored flags and lettering, and posting photos on Twitter with the caption “#SFPD is rolling with #Pride2019! #SafetyWithRespect”
Still, groups of protestors, using rainbow-colored tubing to link arms with one another and block the streets, chanted “Stonewall was a riot” in reference to the 1969 clash between police and members of the LGBTQ community at a bar in New York City, which triggered the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQ movement, marking its 50th anniversary this year.
Marchers carrying signs with LGBTQ figures of history in New York City on Sunday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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The movement lasted for about an hour before the streets were cleared again. The SFPD said in a statement that two people were arrested during the parade after “protestors broke down barricades and threw water bottles at officers.”
Pride events took place across the country Sunday. In New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would bar people who attack or kill a gay person in the state from arguing they panicked over their victim’s sexuality.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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