The timing of the World Pride parade was deliberately brought forward by London’s City Hall to reduce the number of people attending.
Gay Star News has seen evidence that the start time of the march through central London was brought forward from 1pm to 11am specifically to discourage the crowds.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has already faced criticism for not stepping in to save the event tomorrow (7 July) which had to be scaled down at short notice last week due to a cash crisis.
The parade had to be turned into a procession with only walking groups and no cars, buses or floats – some floats had been created specially for the day at a cost of thousands of pounds.
A street party in the gay district of Soho also had to be axed.
Now GSN has seen a document from Johnson’s Greater London Authority which admits the reason the start time of the march was changed was to reduce numbers over concerns about health and safety.
London Assembly Member Tom Copley told us: ‘If this is true it completely blows out of the water Boris Johnson’s claim that he is committed to World Pride being a fantastic event.
‘Despite the usual warm words from the mayor it seems that not only does he not care about World Pride, but his office has deliberately intervened to downgrade it. Once again, Boris Johnson has let down LGBT Londoners.’
Peter Tatchell, a veteran LGBT campaigner who has been involved in London pride events since their earliest days said: ‘If this is true it confirms our concerns that the mayor’s office has never wanted a big, spectacular World Pride.
‘It suggests that they are not unhappy with the current shambles.’
There are also unconfirmed reports that some LGBT people are planning a sit-in protest at the start of the march to delay its departure. The police are said to be nervous about a possible confrontation and the risk to public safety of an impromptu demonstration of this kind.
A police spokesman could only tell us that ‘an appropriate policing plan is in place’ but was not able to confirm the rumor.
Gay Star News asked the mayor’s office for a comment but has not yet received a reply.