BOSTON - Several dozen marchers and about as many counter-demonstrators gathered in Boston on Saturday afternoon for a "straight pride" parade.
A group called Super Happy Fun America announced the parade as Boston celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month earlier this summer.
According to Boston Police, 36 people were arrested during the parade and four officers suffered non-life threatening injuries. Authorities have not reported how many people attended the parade and counter-protests.
The organizers say they believe straight people are an oppressed majority.
Counter-demonstrators accused those organizers of promoting an atmosphere of violence toward the LGBTQ community.
The parade, with marchers carrying signs such as "2020 Trump" and "Build The Wall," started at noon at Copley Plaza, moving through major downtown streets before ending with a rally at City Hall Plaza, where the crowd and speakers were outnumbered by those protesting them from behind barricades.
Among the scheduled speakers was the leader of the Proud Boys, which the Anti-Defamation League describes as an "extremist conservative group."
We’ve seen some small clashes between straight pride and counter protesters. Nothing physical just vocal. This one was silent. @boston25 #StraightPrideParade #cityhallplaza #Boston pic.twitter.com/Zn1EqbU2YS— Evan White (@EvanWhiteIII) August 31, 2019
Police were deployed along the parade route to ensure safety measures were put in place, along with using metal detectors and conducting bag checks.
Officers now hopping the barrier fence to arrest a few more protesters. Appears they’re confiscating homemade shields. #StraightPrideParade hasn’t made its way here yet. This crowd is by the Common and Tremont Street (if you’d like to avoid this area) @boston25 #Boston pic.twitter.com/3uPHmtFSI8— Litsa Pappas (@LitsaPappas) August 31, 2019
While the parade itself was mostly peaceful, after the rally ended at City Hall Plaza, a fight broke out on Congress Street as parade attendees and protestors had just begun to walk away from City Hall.
Police had to use pepper spray to dissipate the crowd after a verbal spat between a Beverly straight pride supporter and a woman triggered a physical confrontation.
Donato Paglia, the man involved in the verbal argument that allegedly started the fight said, "there's no reason to have gay pride, black pride, white pride, whatever it doesn't matter, we're all the same, we're all Americans."
Counter-protestors said that, at the same time those in the parade were voicing their opinions, they found it was important to fight back and stand for their own beliefs.
"I think it's important for us to stand up for our rights as gay men," said Ryan Hatcher, of Boston. "I just don't think that this parade is something that's necessary."
Officers had to separate straight pride supporters from counter-protestors by using barricades and sheet manpower. Onlookers say they were shocked to see what happened.
"We came here for lunch, and we're like whoa this is serious," said Ray Mendoza, a tourist.
Here’s the #StraightPrideParade coming down Boylston Street by the Common with police officers all around. Lots of shouting from protesters along the barriers. Lots of signs supporting “normalcy” and #Trump2020 in this parade. @boston25 #Boston pic.twitter.com/0aEL4JeQg7— Litsa Pappas (@LitsaPappas) August 31, 2019
It is unclear how many people attended the parade and counter protests.
Police have not yet released any information on any injuries resulting from today's confrontations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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