The man who set up next month’s Gay Pride march through the East End has quit the project over his links with the English Defence League
Raymond Berry has stepped down from East End Gay Pride which was set up to organise the march on April 2, over his dealings with the Far Right group. It comes at the end of a day of controversy which has split the East End’s gay community.
An open letter was sent to police and Tower Hamlets council from Out East, part of the Rainbow Hamlets umbrella organisation representing LGBT groups—lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans—calling on the march to be scrapped. It is boycotting the event, claiming other EDL members are still using it to attack Muslims. Berry has accused them of jealousy and “shameful” behaviour.
“The sad reality is that the opposition against us has been from within the LGBT community,” he said. “They have made a simple gay pride event something difficult and unpleasant through sour grapes and jealousy. I find that utterly shameful on their part.”
The march is in response to a wave of ‘hate’ stickers on walls and lamp-posts declaring a ‘gay free’ zone under Allah.
Organisers are going ahead with it—despite the boycott—after accepting Berry’s resignation. East End Gay Pride said in a statement: “Raymond had dealings with the EDL, but has assured us he is no longer has any part of it. He attended marches by the EDL and Unite Against Fascism, but found both too extreme for his beliefs. None of this was previously disclosed to the rest of the team, until it came to light late yesterday evening.”
But Out East remained adamant tonight that the boycott continues. It’s co-ordinator Terry Stewart told the East London Advertiser: “There are still four more EDL members with the organisers—we want them out. The march is now tainted. EDL is using the march as a smoke-screen to attack the Bangladeshi community.”
Organisers expect 1,000 supporters on April 2 for the march setting off from Shadwell along the Commercial Road to Poplar for a rally with speakers including MP Jim Fitzpatrick.
East London Advertiser