Los Angeles replaces its gay pride parade with 'resist' march


LOS ANGELES, June 11 (Reuters) - Members of the Los Angeles-area gay community were expected to walk en masse through the city on Sunday in a so-called Resist March against President Donald Trump, an event taking the place of the annual pride parade.

Organizers of the Resist March say the 3-mile (4.8km) walk will begin in Hollywood at 8 a.m. PDT (1500 GMT) and culminate with a rally in gay-friendly West Hollywood featuring U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and groups such as GLAAD, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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"This was not the year for parades. This was the year to take to the streets and march," said Stephen Macias, a spokesman for the organizers.

"The march is still about celebrating our community but its also about recognizing the climate we live in and the delicate balance around civil rights," Macias said.

The move has brought criticism from some in the Southern California gay community, who say the one day of the year set aside to celebrate their lives should not be given over to other political causes.

It marks the second year in a row that Los Angeles Pride organizers have faced dissension. In 2016, some activists boycotted pride events on the grounds that they had lost their focus on the larger gay community to become a music festival catering largely younger people.

This year's march comes a day after anti-corporate protesters briefly blocked the route of a Washington, D.C., pride parade, in part in opposition to such corporate backers as Wells Fargo & Co and weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp .

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The Washington protestors also demanded a transgender minority woman be added to the board of parade organizer Capital Pride, and that police be barred from marching.

In response, Ryan Bos, executive director of Capital Pride Alliance, released a statement on Sunday acknowledging the importance of considering differing points of view.

"We encourage a robust, civil, and healthy conversation within the community about all of the issues that impact us and look forward to having a mutually respectful conversation in the days, weeks, and months ahead," Bos said.

Macias, the Los Angeles march spokesman, said the complaints about this year's Resist March were due largely to a misunderstanding about its intentions and that the weekend still would feature gay pride festivities across the Los Angeles area.

"The march is still about celebrating our community but it's also about recognizing the climate we live in and the delicate balance around civil rights," he said.

Gay pride events are scheduled for major cities across the United States this month, some of them this weekend.

In San Francisco, pride organizers have not dropped their parade in favor of a protest but the SF Weekly newspaper reported the event will include a "resistance contingent" and an immigrant rights speaker.

Early on Monday morning, the owner of the shuttered Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, is set to open its doors in remembrance of victims of a mass shooting there on June 12, 2016, that killed 49 people. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Trott and Nick Zieminski)