Metro Weekly

Palestine Protestors Stop Toronto’s Pride Parade

Coalition Against Pinkwashing cancels Canada’s largest Pride parade and issues a list of demands to include boycotting Israel.

Protestors block the 2024 Toronto Pride Parade - Screenshot:
Protestors block the 2024 Toronto Pride Parade – Screenshot:

The Toronto Pride Parade kicked off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 30. Three and a half hours later, it came to an unexpected halt, as the Coalition Against Pinkwashing blocked it, the Toronto Star reports.

Amid the thousands of revelers marking Canada’s largest Pride celebration, roughly 30 members of the coalition stopped the procession on its route of about a mile and a half to bring attention to the war in Gaza. Forty-five minutes later, organizers of Pride Toronto decided to cancel the remainder of the parade. 

In a statement issued later in the day, Pride Toronto said the decision not to continue was primarily due to safety.

“While we deeply respect and uphold everyone’s right to peacefully protest, our foremost priority is the well-being of all participants and spectators,” the statement reads. “We empathize with those who were looking forward to participating and regret any inconvenience caused by this decision.”

According to the Star, police offered to assist in removing the protesters, but organizers requested there be no such action. 

The group Queer and Trans Palestinian Action for Liberation also issued a statement, theirs endorsing the coalition action.

“As queer and trans Palestinians, we are appalled by the weaponization of our gender and sexual identities to attempt to justify and pinkwash the Zionist entity’s crimes,” it reads. “These crimes against humanity aim to eliminate and obliterate all Palestinian existence, including that of queer and trans Palestinians.”

Pride Toronto is no stranger to political tension.

In 2016, Black Lives Matter protestors halted the parade, presenting a list of demands to organizers, which was accepted.

In 2011, financial support from the city was jeopardized when members of the City Council took issue with a group calling itself Queers Against Israeli Apartheid planning to march in the parade.

This year, the coalition presented a list of demands, which has yet to be accepted. The first demand is that “Pride Toronto must declare itself an Apartheid-Free Zone,” borrowing language from the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement, calling on Pride Toronto to “implement a cultural boycott of apartheid ‘Israel.’”

Amid several other demands, the coalition is calling for police to be banned entirely from all Pride Toronto events and community spaces.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!