Boston (USA) (AFP)
Police used pepper spray on Saturday in Boston to disperse counter-protesters who accused police of protecting the parade participants for "heterosexual pride" and tried to prevent them from reopening Boston.
The incidents erupted after pro-Trump demonstrations saying they wanted to "defend heterosexuality".
While the marches, which gathered a few hundred people, ended in front of the town hall, protesters from both sides exchanged invectives, sometimes throwing cups of coffee and dirt. Some counter-demonstrators threw eggs at the police and one of them was arrested.
But after the dispersion of the participants in the Straight Pride Parade, as opposed to Gay Prides, counter-protesters accused the police of protecting "Nazis" and chanted "shame on you", forming a human chain to prevent policemen to pass, according to an AFP photographer. The police used pepper spray and arrested several protesters.
The president of the "Straight Pride Parade", John Hugo, 56, unhappy candidate for a congressional seat in 2018 and a supporter of Donald Trump, assures that his parade is neither homophobic nor extremist.
"There is no racist in our group," he told AFP. "You should come to our meetings, it's like the United Nations".
On his website, his organization, titled "Super Happy Fun America," claims to want to "celebrate the diversity and culture of the hetero community," which would constitute an "oppressed majority" in a state of Massachusetts won over Democrats, the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.
But some of the speakers are figures of the "alt-right" (the extreme right) American, as Milo Yannopoulos, guest of honor of the parade and former contributor of the news site Breitbart News.
"Homosexuals have been shaming me for decades," Yannopoulos told AFP. "Frankly, as a gay man, I have been attacked by homosexuals for most of my life, and these people (the supporters of heterosexual pride, ed) make me feel good."
- "Hate" -
In the other camp, Rachel Domond, an organizer of the counter-demonstration, said she came "to oppose this hatred that exists here in Boston and in the country."
For her, the arrival of Donald Trump in power has made white supremacists now feel entitled to "say these things and say them more and more publicly."
Several anti-Trump organizations and supporters of the gay community had called to counter-protest and block the heterosexual walk, the course of about two kilometers, authorized by the town hall.
On August 20, 2017, local activist Monica Cannon-Grant organized a counter-demonstration in Boston to denounce racism and the extreme right after the violent riots in Charlottesville, in front of a rally that claimed to defend "freedom of expression "but was suspected of defending the extremists.
Counter-demonstrators, numbering more than 40,000, were then by far the most numerous.
The day had given rise to some clashes and about thirty arrests, but no serious injuries.
The Straight Pride message is "dangerous," Cannon-Grant told a Boston radio station this week, "We have an obligation to fight."
Another "Straight Pride" held last Saturday in the city of Modesto, California, had gathered a few dozen protesters and about 250 counter-protesters, according to local newspaper The Modesto Bee.
© 2019 AFP