Revelers attending the two biggest Pride parades in the nation were running panicked from perceived gunfire on Sunday – which police in both New York City and San Francisco said was a false alarm.
With tensions at boiling point nationwide following Friday’s repeal of Roe v Wade, and the angry scenes in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Cedar Rapids that evening, Pride was being celebrated this weekend with a mix of defiance and trepidation.
In Manhattan, marchers in Washington Square Park ran after hearing what sounded like gunshots.
Jeffrey Maddrey, New York Police Department’s chief of patrol, tweeted on Sunday afternoon that the noise was from fireworks, and there was no gunfire.
Similarly in San Francisco, Pride partygoers in the Civic Centre dashed away in terror as rumor spread of a mass shooting.
NEW YORK CITY: Pride attendees scramble to flee Washington Square Park on Sunday, after fireworks were mistaken for gunshot
NEW YORK CITY: People were trampled as the crowd ran to get out of the way in Manhattan on Sunday
NEW YORK CITY: The panic reflects a deep unease after the Oslo gay bar shooting, and amid tensions in the U.S. over Roe v Wade
NEW YORK CITY: Washington Square Park on Sunday was a scene of joy, before the stampede
One person said: ‘I was there and it was horrible. Fell over in the stampede and no buildings were open so we were out in the street. After what happened in Oslo I didn’t want to risk it.’
Another commented: ‘The way mass shootings have affected nyc is insane.
‘Fireworks went off at washington square park during pride and people almost got trampled because people ran in masses in fear. like nothing i have ever seen.’
Video editor Brian Vinik tweeted photos of the ground strewn with debris, as Pride attendees fled in a rush.
‘Aftermath of panic at Washington Square Park after people mistook fireworks for gunshots during Pride,’ he said.
‘Fortunately I was several blocks away from the main stampede. Sad reflection of the state of the world that vulnerable communities & celebrations have to be on such high alert.’
Another said: ‘Whoever set off fireworks in Washington Square Park in today’s environment WILL go to hell.’
San Francisco police told DailyMail.com that they believed it was a false alarm.
SAN FRANCISCO: Pride parade attendees fled on Sunday in San Francisco amid fear of gunshots ringing out
SAN FRANCISCO: Police rushed to the scene but found no evidence of any shots fired; instead, it’s believed that people were fighting and sparked a panic
SAN FRANCISCO: Pride participants are seen in San Francisco on Sunday, at one of the nation’s biggest celebrations
‘On June 26, 2022 at approximately 5:25 pm, San Francisco Police Officers assigned to the Civic Center area for the San Francisco Pride Festival responded to the area of 7 St and Market Street on a report of a shooting,’ they said in a statement.
‘Officers responded to the area and were unable to located any victims or witnesses.
‘At this time it does not appear that there was any merit to a shooting in the area, and officers remain on scene to ensure safety and security of Pride events.’
The panic comes after both the shooting in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Friday night at a gay bar, and the unrest in the United States.
The annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere are taking place just two days after one conservative justice on the Supreme Court signaled, in a ruling on abortion, that the court should reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognized in 2015.
New York City’s annual pride parade kicked off Sunday with glittering confetti, fluttering rainbow flags and newfound fears about losing freedoms won through decades of activism.
‘We’re here to make a statement,’ said 31-year-old Mercedes Sharpe, who traveled to Manhattan from Massachusetts.
‘I think it’s about making a point, rather than all the other years like how we normally celebrate it.
‘This one’s really gonna stand out. I think a lot of angry people, not even just women, angry men, angry women.’
The warning shot from the nation’s top court came after a year of legislative defeats for the LGBTQ community, including the passage of laws in some states limiting the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity with children.
As anti-gay sentiments resurface, some are pushing for pride parades to return to their roots – less blocks-long street parties, more overtly civil rights marches.
‘It has gone from being a statement of advocacy and protest to being much more of a celebration of gay life,’ Sean Clarkin, 67, said of New York City’s annual parade while enjoying a drink recently at Julius’s, one of the oldest gay bars in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
Parades celebrating LGBTQ pride kick off in some of America’s biggest cities on Sunday amid new fears about the potential erosion of freedoms won through decades of activism. The annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere take place just two days after one conservative justice on the Supreme Court signaled, in a ruling on abortion, that the court should reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognized in 2015
A COLORFUL, BIG APPLE: People take part in the annual pride parade, in Manhattan, New York, on Sunday. The event, led by planned parenthood, is the first without coronavirus restrictions since 2019
POLE SWINGIN’: People from different neighborhoods in New York City gathered in Manhattan to take part in LGBTQ+ festivities, with some attendees sitting on construction poles to observe the annual pride parade, in Manhattan on Sunday
JUST SMILE & WAVE: Parade onlookers wave rainbow flags along barricades fences during the New York City Pride Parade on June 26, with thousands of New Yorkers celebrating LGBTQ+ freedoms won through decades of activism
Revelers waving countless amounts of rainbow flags, symbolic of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide, in Manhattan, just two days after SCOTUS overturned Roe v Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion
NEVER FORGET: In this 1969 file photo, an NYPD officer grabs a Stonewall Inn patron by the arm as other officers hold onto the activist during a confrontation in Greenwich Village after a Gay Power march in New York
The Stonewall riots were a series of unplanned protests by the gay and lesbian community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn (pictured) in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan, New York City
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center Groundbreaking near The Stonewall Inn on Friday — two days before the Big Apple’s Pride festival on Sunday
MAKING HISTORY: New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, 2nd left, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., 2nd right, unveiled the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center Groundbreaking at The Stonewall Inn on Friday
As he remembers things, the parade was once about defiance and pushing against an oppressive mainstream that saw gays, lesbians and transgender people as unworthy outsiders.
‘As satisfying and empowering as it may be to now be accepted by the mainstream,’ Clarkin said, ‘there was also something energizing and wonderful about being on the outside looking in.’
New York’s first Pride March, then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was held in 1970 to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, a spontaneous street uprising triggered by a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan.
Thousands lined the streets of New York on Sunday to wave rainbow flags, celebrate the movement toward LGBTQ equality and renew calls for action in fear of SCOTUS overruling same-sex marriage after countermanding Roe vs Wade last week
SPREAD THE LOVE: Bryanna Rosario, 21 years old, from New Jersey and Tara Mckearnin, 19 years old New Jersey kiss at the New York City Pride Parade on June 26, 2022 in New York City
PARTY TIME: Colorful, glittering confetti was on display at NYC’s Pride parade, matching the theme of celebrations on Sunday
SUNDAY MARCH: New York Governor Kathy Hochul participates in the New York City Pride Parade on June 26, 2022 in New York City, marching with activists and members of the Big Apple’s LGBTQ+ community
MY BODY, MY VOICE, OUR RIGHT: Many activists who are pro-life marched in Sunday’s Pride celebrations, with many holding pink signs and t-shirts supporting abortion rights
A street performer showed off her colorful outfit in the Big Apple as thousands of onlookers watched her put on a show under the heat
SHOWING OFF PRIDE: Another street performer showed off her golden outfit, while participating in New York’s annual Pride parade
TAKE AIR: A man blew several balloons and attached them to his outfit for Sunday’s Pride parade in NYC, as he shows off his colorful display
A chihuahua dressed in pride colors took part in Pride celebrations with its owner on Sunday during a sunny day in New York
LOVE SMOKE: Revelers unleashed colorful smoke bombs to show off the city’s support of its LGBTQ+ community on Sunday
A person holds a rainbow flag during the 2022 NYC Pride parade in Manhattan, New York City, while walking down the streets of Manhattan
QUICK SELFIE: Although the number of people who partook in Sunday’s Pride parade was unclear, thousands waring rainbow colors walked down the streets of Manhattan
Customers dine outdoors under Pride decorations at a restaurant in Manhattan on Sunday in NYC as revelers greet them
San Francisco’s first march was in 1972 and had been held every year since, except during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrations are now global, taking place throughout the year in multiple countries, with many of the biggest parades taking place in June.
One of the world’s largest, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was held June 19.
In the United States, this year’s celebrations take place amid a potential crisis.
In a Supreme Court ruling Friday striking down the right to abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion that the court should also reconsider its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage and a 2003 decision striking down laws criminalizing gay sex.
Abortion rights and anti abortion right activists fill the street in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during a protest in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside on Saturday, June 25, 2022 in Washington D.C.
SCOTUS’ decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. Pictured: Abortion-rights protest in front of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.
WEST COAST: A general view of the 2022 San Francisco Pride parade, in San Francisco, California, on June 26, 2022
RIDE FOR PRIDE: Revelers ride motorbikes, spreading their wings, as they take part in the 2022 San Francisco Pride parade
Two people crossing LGBTQ+ flags, one of them including Pan-African colors in celebration of Juneteenth earlier last week, during the 2022 San Francisco Pride Parade
Protesters denounce the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end abortion rights protections at the steps of City Hall on June 25, in Los Angeles, California, a day after Roe v Wade was overturned
Protesters gather in reaction to the announcement to the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on Friday, in Los Angeles, California
: Green smoke rises as protesters march northbound on the 110 Freeway to denounce the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health case on Friday
More than a dozen states have recently enacted laws that go against the interests of LGBTQ communities, including a law barring any mention of sexual orientation in school curricula in Florida and threats of prosecution for parents who allow their children to get gender-affirming care in Texas.
Several states have put laws in place prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in team sports that coincide with the gender in which they identify.
According to an Anti-Defamation League survey released earlier this week, members of LGBTQ communities were more likely than any other group to experience harassment.
Two-thirds of respondents said they have been harassed, a little more than half of whom said the harassment was a result of their sexual orientation.