Organisers of Mid Ulster Pride protest urged 'to show respect'
ORGANISERS of a protest against a Pride march have been told it "in no way reflects the view of the community" and urged to withdraw their application.
The second Mid Ulster Pride march is due to take place in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on September 18.
Three Free Presbyterians had protested outside a Cookstown hotel when the Mid Ulster Pride committee launched its first parade and associated events in January 2020.
This year the Parades Commission website lists two simultaneous protests - one from a private individual and another from the organisation 'Protest Against Mid-Ulster Pride' with an anticipated attendance of 80.
SDLP Mid Ulster assembly member Patsy McGlone called on organisers to withdraw their application and show tolerance and respect.
"We are living in the 21st century, protests like this should be nothing more than an unwelcome reminder of the past," he said.
"This intolerance has no place in Mid Ulster and in no way reflects the view of the community here.
"Mid Ulster Pride was only launched last year, it was a success and well received by the vast majority of people here.
"To try and ruin or detract from that is an outstanding act of pettiness that should be rightly condemned by anyone with an ounce of empathy or sense.
"Our LGBT+ community face enough challenges in their everyday lives. Pride is an opportunity for them to come together and celebrate who they are and for others to show their support."
He called on the Parade's Commission to intervene if necessary.
"This planned protest would achieve nothing other than to upset local people, it's extremely distasteful and the organisers should withdraw their application immediately.
"If they insist on proceeding then the Parades Commission should step in. This protest is not in the interests of anyone other than a small group of people who insist on pushing their unwelcome agenda long after the rest of society has left them behind."
The protest organisers could not be contacted for comment.