Group to protest against Manchester Pride gay village fences


manchesterA 'right to roam' group is set to hold a peaceful 'trespass' at Manchester Pride next weekend (August 22-25), arguing that organisers cannot stop them entering the city's gay village for free.

The 'Facts about Manchester Pride' group claim they have been told by both the police and city council that anyone is allowed to enter Canal Street and the surrounding area during Manchester Pride's Big Weekend, despite it being a ticketed event that is fenced off to the general public.

Ticket's to this year's Big Weekend festival - which will see performances from Anastacia, Pixie Lott, All Saints and more - cost £12.50 per day or £22 for the weekend.

'Facts' campaigner leader Geoff Stafford told the Manchester Evening Standard: "People have been led to believe they couldn’t enter without buying an expensive ticket. This was particularly cruel for any LGBT person who couldn’t afford to pay. It meant that 'their' part of the city was fenced off to them during this so-called 'celebration'."

Mr Stafford explained that any people want to "wander around" the gay village during Pride weekend, but have no interest in seeing the live music.

"And now we know that they could have done it all along," he said. "This must be one of the biggest cons ever inflicted on a gay community anywhere.

"Of course we’re asking anyone who does this during the weekend to stay calm and polite, while standing firm and insisting on their rights without delay," he added.

Manchester Pride organisers announced last month (July) that they would be releasing 300 reduced price tickets for people undergoing financial hardship. According to an email from the council's head of events, road closures during Pride "do not restrict" pedestrian right of way, and that organisers "facilitate such movement".

Earlier this week, organisers announced that one of the stars of hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black will serve as the event's Grand Marshal this year - click here to find out more.

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