On July 7, 2018, the LGBT commerce association “Variations” (Variações in Portuguese) tried to participate in Porto’s Pride Parade with their own bus, against the will of the organization and the rules of the march. A radical group intervened to prevent their participation and expelled Variations and their dumb bus.
“Concerning the brief episode with the tourist bus that showed up at the Republic Square, close to the protest’s starting hour, and which provoked some news organizations into imprecise and rushed interpretations, we inform that the Parade organizers had previous knowledge of its possible presence. In fact, Variations – Portugal’s LGBTI Commerce and Tourism Association sent, in the week preceding the 13th Parade, an email informing the Parade organizers that it would make itself represented through a bus (…). By unanimity, the representatives of the associations, collectives and political organizations that compose the organizers and promoters of Porto’s 13th LGBT+ Pride Parade, voted to forbid the circulation of said vehicle, for the following reasons:
1º) The organizers had already previously defined the sound vehicles which would circulate in the Parade, all without commercial propaganda and loaned by activists;
2º) The Pride organization, having respect for its principles and the history of the LGBT+ movement in Portugal, believes that the associations should represent themselves as equals and not according to their financial ability to exhibit their flags.
The information about the denial of permission for the circulation of the tourist bus during the 13th Parade WAS COMMUNICATED in a timely manner to Variations and its representative, however, the organization was careful in approving and reinforcing the invitation for Variations and its partners to participate in the Parade, suggesting that they use the materials used by most people present in the Parade (banners, signs, slogans). However, the Variations association and its representative disregarded the collective decision process of the Parade and attempted to secure the presence of the tourist bus.
But an additional GRIEVOUS episode is added to this whole situation. The Parade organizers verified that the Variations commercial association and its partners, before sending the first email informing the Pride organization about the presence of the bus, had already contacted the Police and the Porto City Council to inform of the bus’ presence. Thus, they overruled the Parade organizers entire collective process and DIDN’T INFORM the organization about their previous communication with the City Council and Police. Furthermore, this disrespectful, treacherous and fraudulent act towards the organizers of 13 years of struggle, activism, dedication and representativeness initiatives for the rights of LGBT+ people, attempted to undermine the relationship between the Parade and the proper authorities (Police and Porto City Council).”
The intentions of the blockade group
About the group which executed the blockade action, a short review of the events and a brief manifest was shared on Indymedia, which we partially reproduce here:
“GET LOST, CAPITALISM, OUT! YOU WONT PASS! MANIFEST LGBTI+ combative Pride
The Stonewall revolt (USA, June 28, 1969) marked the beginning of the organized struggle for dissident genders, sexualities, affections and relationships against the authoritarian, cisheteropatriarcal and capitalist system. We go out on the streets today to reclaim a combative pride, which can never be a commodity or merchandisable.
We want corporations OUT of our political struggles: they are not our allies, they are our oppressors. We say NO to the capitalist appropriation of LGBTQIA+ resistances, accomplished through the infiltration of our occupation of public space, through sponsorships and patronage and the gentrification of our communities/neighborhoods/entertainment spaces. We say OUT to those who convert us into market segments to foment gaypitalist consumerism. We are not a business, we are not a source of revenue!
This year, the Porto LGBT+ Pride Parade is being targeted by a capitalist coup attempted by VARIATIONS, a commercial agglomerate which wants to usurp our political struggle and convert it into a publicity stunt to promote its own image and maximize its profit (pink capitalism). (…)
Our rights are not a business!”
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