LONDON (AP) — London Pride’s technicolor, dancing march came to a brief halt on Saturday as climate activists blocked a Coca-Cola float to protest against event organizers accepting sponsorship money from ” highly polluting industries.
Seven members of the group Just Stop Oil have been arrested for public nuisance offences, police said.
The protest was the latest in a long series of actions by the group to stop traffic or disrupt large-scale events as part of its campaign to stop new oil and gas projects. Two protesters were arrested earlier in the week after charging onto the pitch at the Ashes Test cricket match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.
“These partnerships embarrass the LGBTQ+ community at a time when much of the cultural world rejects ties to these toxic industries,” the group said. “Highly polluting industries and the banks that fund them now see Pride as a useful vehicle to clean up their reputations, waving rainbow flags with one hand while accelerating social collapse with the other.”
The demonstration halted the march which drew tens of thousands of participants. It was the 51st year of the march and the theme was “Never March Alone” in support of transgender and non-binary people.
Will De’Athe-Morris, spokesman for Pride London, the organization that organizes the UK capital’s Pride events, told the BBC he didn’t want the protest to distract from the message of the parade .
“Pride is protest and pride is celebration,” De’Athe-Morris said. “Anyone who tries to disrupt this demonstration and parade is really letting down those who use this space once a year to come together to celebrate and protest for these rights.”
The Just Stop Oil demonstration began with one person lying in front of the Coke float as attendees danced to the rhythmic beat of Icona Pop’s “I Love It.”
Two other protesters wearing gold fire extinguishers began spraying pink and black paint on the road and the side of the glittering red floating truck. They then sat down with four other people in front of the truck and chanted “Just stop oil!”
The protest lasted just over 15 minutes before police transported protesters from the road. The crowd lining the road cheered as they were carried away and the march resumed.
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