It's been 50 years since New York City's first Pride march, and LGBTQ New Yorkers are still being antagonized by police.
This past Sunday, June 28, an estimated 50,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Manhattan for the Reclaim Pride Coalition's second annual Queer Liberation March, an un-permitted, corporation-free resistance march. As NewNowNext previously reported, this year's iteration was specifically in support of Black lives and against police brutality in response to recent acts of anti-Black violence across the country.
The march kicked off around 1pm at Foley Square near NYC's City Hall, where activists have been occupying 24/7 in growing numbers to demand NYPD be defunded by at least $1 billion. Protestors, led by Reclaim Pride organizers and giant puppets depicting LGBTQ historical figures, marched uptown toward the West Village. Four hours of the event were livestreamed on Reclaim Pride's YouTube for those who could not attend.
The massive action took place 51 years to the date since the Stonewall Uprising and 50 years after the city's first Pride march. But local activists say not much has changed in the decades since that fateful night at the Stonewall Inn: NYPD officers reportedly charged at protestors toward the end of yesterday's demonstration in Washington Square Park.
According to Reclaim Pride's Instagram, at least one protestor was arrested, and "many more" experienced violence at the hands of police. The incidents were documented on-the-ground by NYC-based activists like Marti Gould Cummings and Eliel Cruz. Multiple demonstrators reported the use of pepper spray and batons by police.
NYC Council speaker Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, called for an investigation into the "incredibly disturbing" footage.
Despite the disturbing police activity at the march, Reclaim Pride organizers urged attendees to "not let the NYPD ruin a gorgeous day like today."
"THE SUN, THE RAIN AND THE RAINBOW came out for us today!" the team wrote on Instagram. "AND WE MADE HISTORY! Let’s carry this spirit forward! Let’s continue supporting our Black Queer and Trans Communities! Let’s show up for each other, TOGETHER."
View more photos from yesterday's Queer Liberation March below.