Auckland Pride’s Hui included: a physical altercation, heated debate, saw police-supporters walk out and supporters of the ‘police uniform ban’ celebrate moving forward with the parade.
To conclude a fiery hui that saw impassioned arguments from both sides put forward, Auckland Pride Chair Cissy Rock confirmed Pride will be holding a further Special General Meeting, that had been requested in a letter signed by multiple Auckland Pride members.
Sources claim the aim of this meeting is to push for a vote of no confidence in the Pride Board and replace current members with new ones, looking to reinstate the Police’s right to march in uniform. However, those looking to do this will likely be met with opposition from supporters of the uniform ban.
Sunday night’s hui saw a number of well-organised supporters of Pride’s police uniform ban attend the event. They included respected public speakers from the trans-community, groups of university students and members of People Against Prisons Aotearoa – a group that would ultimately like to see prisons abolished in Aotearoa.
Those in favour of the police uniform ban gave statistics on police violence against people of colour, showed pictures of faces of people who had been shot by police in the last eleven years (though it was unclear if this included members of the rainbow community) and talked about the need for our community to show support it’s most marginalised, particularly trans people of colour.
Those getting up to speak in opposition also included members of the trans community, the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective and many rainbow community members who talked about being LGBTI+ in the years before law reform, noting how far the Police have come, with some calling the uniform ban, ‘a backwards step’.
MP Louisa Wall also spoke calling for the rainbow community as a whole to find a united way to move forward with the 2019 parade and festival.
Judging by an early show of hands, at the beginning of the hui, express would roughly estimate a third of those in attendance supported the uniform ban. However numerous members of the opposition to the ban walked out after being informed that the Pride Board would not be changing their decision based on what was being said at the hui that night.
Following the walkout, numbers swayed more in favour of those in support of the uniform ban; with some attendees telling express afterwards that what they had heard at the hui had changed their minds on the decision and they now supported the uniform ban.
Multiple sources have informed express that one of Pride’s current sponsors, several corporate organisations and a community group that organises multiple Pride Festival events, are all planning to inform the Board this week that they are pulling out of the 2019 Festival if the police uniform ban remains.
Other sources have informed express, that anti-police groups plan to protest and block the parade if the uniform ban is overturned.