Protesters marched in front of Victoria Police in Midsumma’s Pride March

midsumma pride march victoria police protesters no pride in prisons serco st kilda fitzroy street
Image: WACA/Twitter

A group of protesters opposed to police participating in Pride have marched in front of Victoria Police at Midsumma’s Pride March in Melbourne.

Midsumma is Victoria’s long-running annual LGBTIQ arts and culture festival.

The festival’s 27th annual Pride March took over St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street on Sunday (February 6). Over 10,000 marchers and spectators turned out for the event.

A group of about 15 of the protesters joined the march, walking in front of around 100 officers participating following community controversy over their presence.

The protesters called for an end to police and correctional officer participation in Midsumma.

They held up signs reading “No Pride In Prisons… VicPol and Serco, Queers Hate You” and “Community Not Cops” and chanted along Fitzroy Street.

Serco is a company that operates immigration detention as well as justice and correctional services with the Australian government.

“There is no pride in violent, racist policing,” one protester said at the march.

“We reject Victoria Police being at Pride and we reject Midsumma’s shameful partnership with Serco.

“Pride is for community, not cops and corporations.”

Victoria Police marks 20th year in Midsumma Pride March

The Victoria Police officers joined the Midsumma Pride March for their 20th year on Sunday.

This year, they again joined the march in uniform but without wearing guns and other operational equipment.

The officers also “walked alongside the community,” rather than the usual marching in formation, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Sunday.

In a statement, a Victoria Police spokesperson added the force “acknowledges concerns expressed by some members of LGBTIQ community about police participating in the annual Pride March”.

“We are committed to further improving and remain steadfast in our commitment to building strong relationships with LGBTIQ communities – relationships built on respect, trust and fairness,” the spokesperson said.

Separate to Sunday’s protest, last month 140 queer Victorians signed an open letter and almost 1000 others signed a separate petition calling on uniformed officers “to cease participating as an organisation” in Midsumma.

It said while everyone is welcome in a personal capacity, the signatories “call for the decentring of police.”

“We believe that all LGBTIQA+ people deserve to be safe at our Pride March,” the letter read.

“While some people can safely interact with police, their presence makes many more people in our communities unsafe.

The letter went on, “Three in four respondents to a 2020 survey conducted by the Victorian Pride Lobby believed that Victoria Police should not march in uniform.

“For trans and gender diverse participants the figure was higher at almost nine out of 10 people.”

“Pride March should be led by and for LGBTIQA+ communities.

“We do not believe that police serve our interests by participating against community wishes.”

In recent years, debate has raged about uniformed police participation in Pride events around Australia, including Midsumma, the Brisbane Pride Festival and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Special street party celebrating Victorian milestone

This year Midsumma runs from January 23 until February 13 in Melbourne.

This year, the Victorian government and Midsumma teamed up for a huge new street party, Melbourne Pride.

The event, originally planned for last year, commemorates the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The inaugural party will take over the Gertrude Street Precinct in Melbourne’s inner north on February 13.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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