East End Gay Pride march cancelled

East End Gay PrideEast End Gay Pride has been cancelled, the organisers have announced. In a statement this morning, they blamed “personal attacks” and a “personal vendetta” against them by local gay campaigners.

The march was due to be held on April 2nd as a response to anti-gay stickers plastered around London’s East End. But it quickly became controversial, as local groups Rainbow Hamlets and Out East accused the march of being a front of the English Defence League (EDL) and claimed that it would cause tensions between gay people and Muslims in the area.

Yesterday, one organiser, Raymond Berry, resigned after gay Muslim group Imaan revealed he had been a founding member of the EDL, a far-right group. Imaan said it was about to publish evidence to show that other organisers had “right wing and fascistic associations”, although organiser Mark Bourne said that they were simply “patriotic”.

This morning, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called for the march to be postponed and said he was withdrawing his support for it. Pride London had supported the march but said yesterday it had been “misled” by Mr Berry, who had not declared his past support for the controversial group.

Pink News, 16 March 2011