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Alt NYC Pride March Draws Thousands, with Police Clashes, Stabbings and Partying Into the Night

Monday June 29, 2020

While Pride may have been cancelled, a group called The Reclaim Pride Coalition held their own Queer Liberation March Sunday in New York City, drawing a crowd of more than 2,000 who partied on Christopher Street well into the early hours.

In their mission statement, the Coalition sees itself as a reaction to what the New York Pride Parade has become.

"We March against the exploitation of our communities for profit and against corporate and state pinkwashing, as displayed in Pride celebrations worldwide, including the NYC Pride Parade," they write.

While largely peaceful, the march was punctuated with clashes with police and a violent assault when three people were slashed outside the Stonewall Inn ABC7NY reported.

"Police say a 25-year-old man and two women, ages 21 and 24, were slashed on Christopher Street around 2:30 a.m.," ABC7NY wrote.

They were taken to Bellevue Hospital where they are in stable condition. One man was arrested in connection with the incident.

The attack came at the end of a long day of impromptu celebration after the annual New York Pride was cancelled due to COVID-19. It began when a group, under the banner of the Queer Liberation March, marched peacefully from Foley Square to Washington Square Park in the afternoon. After 4 p.m., the march turned violent.

"At Washington Square Park, police say they caught 29-year-old Michael Dunn writing graffiti on an NYPD cruiser. The arrest sparked pushing between protesters and police that resulted in two additional arrests," ABC7NY continues. "Dunn, 20-year-old Millen Dang and 25-year-old Jacob Kruger were all charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration."

The Reclaim Pride Coalition, who sponsored the march, posted their account of the incident on their website:

"Marchers had conducted a huge and universally acclaimed event, marching from Foley Square north on Sixth Avenue, around the Stonewall Inn and back east to Washington Square park. But as they were entering the Park, an NYPD officer stepped forward to arrest a marcher (reason unknown and the NYPD won't say), and a crowd gathered to object, chanting 'Let him go.' Suddenly, a large crowd of NYPD officers rushed in and attacked with pepper spray. All that did was increase the crowd yelling at them to 'go home,' while marchers nursed their pepper spray wounds. One NYPD member reached out to slam a woman on a bicycle to the ground. Other marchers were punched and violently shoved."

"'I wish that I could say what I saw today was shocking, but how could I reasonably expect anything else from the NYPD?' said Jake Tolan, one of the March organizers. '51 years after the Stonewall Rebellion, the NYPD is still responding to peaceful, powerful, righteous queer joy with pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs. Thank you, Commissioner Shea and the entire NYPD, for continuing to show us why you should be abolished.'"

The Gothamist wrote that "numerous videos shared on social media show a crowd of officers shoving outraged protesters where arrests were being made near Washington Square Park."

Mike Perles, a 29-year-old city employee, told The Gothamist that he and his friends were "were dancing right in front of the arch on 5th ave and out of nowhere, cops started storming into the crowd. They pushed everyone in front of them out of the way and onto the ground. They pushed a reporter who was taking photos down and started randomly pepper spraying people. I couldn't see anyone instigating. It seemed like they felt out numbered after entering a huge group and panicked and started beating people up."

The march moved to outside the Stonewall Inn where celebrations continued into the early hours when the slashings occurred.

"Early this morning there were thousands of people in the streets clearly not social distancing many not wearing masks," ABC7NY reporter Diana Rocco said in a news report.

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