Pictured Some of the anti-gays at pride. Photos by Tracy Baim
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Response from pride
Letter to the Editor (in response to 'The Queer and Trans Caucus of the Chicagoland Anarchist Network.)
Windy City Time's coverage of parade day included an unknown source's comment that the anarchist group had planned to 'cause trouble' at the pride parade. However, PRIDEChicago couldn't make that comment because we had no idea exactly what the anarchist group planned to do because they never contacted PRIDEChicago to let us know their plans. Three days before the parade we were told by the police department that the anarchist's planned to do an '... alternative feeder march' from the far north side wherein they would march down to the parade route, gather in a parking lot, and then 'enter' (?) the parade at a given point.
However, the City of Chicago parade ordinance mandates that all potential parade entries in all city parades are required to register. In the case of the pride parade, after submitting a signed parade entry form, verified parade entries receive a receipt and an acknowledgment letter from PRIDEChicago. The bottom line is that neither the anarchist group, nor the anti-gay group ever completed the registration process as required by city ordinance.
The anarchist group also says that the anti-gay group 'entered the parade and marched down the parade route' which is inacccurate. Thousands of people gather and mingle in the staging area which is also known as the 'assembly area' on the permit. Allegedly, the anti-gay group who had gathered in the assembly area, had escaped notice and snuck in, before starting to walk through the assembly area towards the actual parade route which starts at Halsted and Belmont.
However they, or any other similar group, would be stopped cold before entering the parade route (at Halsted and Belmont) because of a safeguard that was put into place as a direct result of an incident that occurred at the 2001 Pride Parade. That year, the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) decided to break into the procession near the front where State's Attrorney Devine was located. They were protesting his participation, and had an ongoing feud with him concerning cases that were being handled by his office. A several-hour gap in the parade resulted and several people in Devine's office were spit on and were hit with rocks and other objects tossed at them.
As a direct result of that incident, every year since then, a 'contolled entry system/safety net' has been set up a half block back from the start of the parade, in order to be able to stop any un-registered participants who had either snuck in or escaped notice, and attempted to proceed down the actual parade route. For the past three years that system, which includes heavy iron barricades which narrow the entry path, have been placed there.
In addition, PRIDEChicago reps along with several police officers are stationed at that point just south of the Halsted/Belmont kick-off corner to prevent un-registered participants from stepping off from the assemby area, down the actual parade route.
Those who attempt to do so can be asked to leave or face arrest if they refuse and attempt to do so.
However, this year before the process could complete itself, the anarchist group decided to intervene, which eventually resulted in arrests.
In another community newspaper, a local police official said that if the process had been allowed to complete itself without interference, the arrests could have been prevented.