LGBT group ‘1 in 9’ disrupted Johannesburg Pride with a lie-down protest on Saturday (6 October), and clashed with the gay march’s organizers.
The pride is the biggest on the African continent with 20,000 celebrants.
The ambush-style demo saw a brief violent exchange where those at the scene say demonstrators were stepped on and verbally abused by pride organisers and participants.
The group of ‘about 20 black lesbians and gender non-conforming feminists’ were ‘assaulted and intimidated by Johannesburg Pride organising committee members and their marshals’, a 1 in 9 spokeswoman alleges in a YouTube video detailing the incident.
1 in 9 were calling for a minute of silence from the parade over a string of gruesome, apparently connected murders which have occurred in South Africa over the past two years. The victims were all gay men murdered in their homes. Their cases remain unsolved.
Event marshals responded by trying to tear down the group’s banners and pride organisers allegedly threatened to run over the demonstrators who were lying down on the road in front of the parade.
Reactions from march participants were mixed. ‘It’s embarrassing and tragic that something like this happened. We’re all on the same side. We’re all fighting for the same thing,’ one parade goer said.
Many others were reportedly surprised and confused by the disruption to the march, believing the group of demonstrators to be an anti-gay gathering bent on ‘ruining the march.’
Tanya Harford, the organizer of the Pride parade, called the protest ‘absolutely inappropriate and illegal.’
She went on to say that ‘If [1 in 9] had bothered to contact the board we would have been very open to working with them. We would have had no problem to have had a minute’s silence and we could have made a very powerful statement that would have benefited them.’
Watch the video prepared by 1 in 9 here: