Activists invade Manchester Pride 2007 parade in protest at Pride commercialisation

25 August 2007, Manchester, England. Activists invaded the annual Manchester Pride parade today in a protest against the commercialisation of this one-time community and fundraising event.

Manchester City Council boasts that Pride brings in more than 20million UKP (UK Pounds) for the city’s businesses each year ($40m). However, in 2006, just 65,000 UKP ($130,000) was raised for charity by Pride.

This was one of the lowest figures in the 17-year history of the event, which was started to raise money for HIV and AIDS causes. And was despite around 35,000 members of the public paying 10-15 UKP for an entry ticket in 2006 as usual (entry was free from 1990-1998 and in 2000 and 2001).This year tickets cost up to 18 UKP each.

In 2006 the organisers even charged unfunded HIV charities and groups 50 UKP to walk in the parade.

Last year the activists were removed by Police and security. But this year they managed to unfurl their banners and walk the entire route.

At the Pride Expo event, charities and voluntary groups must pay 50 UKP for a stall, regardless of their finances, plus 30 UKP if they want a power supply.

This comes days after the Manchester Pride Festival Director was heckled by the public about high costs at a talk given by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (an official Pride event).

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