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GAY pride activists picketed an army recruitment stall in York on Saturday.
For the first time organisers of the city’s annual LGBT Pride parade and festival allowed the army to take part.
Soldiers marched on the parade and then ran a recruitment stall in a tent at the festival.
But some gay activists opposed the army’s involvement and picketed the recruitment stall holding placards with slogans such as “No pride in war,” “Drop beats, not bombs,” and “Veterans for peace.”
They criticised organisers of the parade and festival for allowing the army to take part.
Opponents of the involvement of the army had written to organisers to say that the forces should not be allowed to “pinkwash” their image by claiming to be in favour of equality and human rights. They formed the York Says No Pride in War campaign and won the backing of the pacifist Peace Pledge Union (PPU).
LGBTQ activist and member of the Peace Pledge Union Rachel Melly said: “I am shocked that my local Pride event has been turned into a military public-relations opportunity for pinkwashing the armed forces rather than the celebration of LGBTQ+ liberation that it should be.”
The PPU said that armed forces marching in Pride parades is an example of everyday militarism, with military involvement in many areas of life “being too often seen as normal and unquestionable.”
The peace activists pointed out that British armed forces are involved in training some of the world’s most homophobic regimes, including Saudi Arabia.
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