What security measures for the Pride March this Saturday?
In Toulouse, can the Pride March take place in complete safety? After the shooting last week near a gay bar in Oslo, causing the death of two people, the Norwegian capital canceled the event. In France, after this attack, the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin asked the prefects to reinforce security around LGBTQIA+ gatherings. Starting with the Paris Pride, which took place the next day without incident. Saturday July 2, it is the turn of the Pink City to host its parade, organized by the collective Toulouse pride. And on the Place du Capitole, a new homophobic attack took place again last Sunday.
“This context of the exit from the elections is singular, explains Jérémy Perrard, coordinator at Pride Toulouse. Of course, this generated concern. The rise of far-right representation in politics may raise fears that homophobic messages are becoming commonplace. But it also gives us motivation: everywhere in the world, the decline of human rights shows us that this march remains, more than ever, relevant”.
A reinforced security system
As every year, a private security company will be present with 24 officers dispatched to the procession and to the Pride Village to support the police forces deployed by the prefecture. The latter indicates that “reinforced vigilance instructions” have been translated. Concerning wild bites, the association “Fêtons plus risquons less” will be present to do prevention. The Red Cross will have a first aid station at the Capitol and two ambulances on the route. Finally, a hundred volunteers specially trained by Pride will complete the system to identify any participants in difficulty and provide them with first aid.
Above all, the collective wants to reassure. “We do not take all these measures to please the prefect! We have the same concern as with him, security. Already, so that the event goes well and continues. But also and above all to protect the participants: many are vulnerable people, who suffer attacks on a daily basis. This walk is their day, for some the only one of the year when they feel confident,” recalls Jérémy Perrard.
Safety also involves equipment. In Bordeaux, the collapse of a tank injured six people, three of them seriously, during the June 12 march. An accident that Pride Toulouse takes very seriously… especially since the Toulouse collective was initially supposed to use this same vehicle to parade on Saturday. “As he is immobilized for the investigation, we will have another one. It’s better this way. But we are following this closely and have multiplied the checks, ”says the organizer.
In Toulouse, a security cordon has been compulsory around tanks for several years, which “according to the videos, does not seem to have been the case in Bordeaux”, underlines Jérémy Perrard. Vehicle insurance and civil liability are also checked. In each association present for the parade, a safety referent has been appointed to develop actions, educate drivers and ensure compliance with instructions.
The walk looks hot
Regarding the risk of heat waves, here too everything is planned. Even a tank truck, which is ready to water the participants (by decision of the prefecture). The collective has provided plenty of bottles of water and asked its partners to do the same. An air-conditioned room is made available by the town hall at the Capitole, in case of discomfort due to the heat. But “the best way is to communicate and raise awareness,” recalls Jérémy Perrard. To protect yourself from the sun, why not take the opportunity to parade with a funny hat? “Masks are also welcome, given the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
No cloud should therefore darken the LGBT + rainbow that is coming. 20,000 participants are expected to join the procession which will set off around 2:30 p.m. The Pride Village will open at 10 a.m. on Place du Capitole, also under high security, with double barriers and three controlled accesses (as in 2021). Several Pride marches will also take place tomorrow in other cities, notably Marseille, but also Perpignan where the event is being organized for the very first time.