(Boston) Pro-Trump saying they want to "defend heterosexuality" and counter-protesters calling them homophobic and extremist: two rival parades were held Saturday in Boston under close police surveillance.
While the marches, which gathered a few hundred people, ended in front of the town hall, demonstrators from both sides exchanged invectives, sometimes throwing cups of coffee and … land.
No serious incidents have been recorded. Police stood nearby to prevent possible clashes, armed with batons and gas masks. Some counter-demonstrators threw eggs at the police and one of them was arrested.
For several weeks, the "Straight Pride Parade", as opposed to "Gay Pride", which has become an institution in many American metropolises, is provoking controversy.
Its president, 56-year-old John Hugo, an unfortunate candidate for a congressional seat in 2018 and a declared supporter of Donald Trump, assures that the parade is neither homophobic nor extremist.
"There is no racist in our group," he told AFP. "You should come to our meetings, it's like the United Nations."
On his website, his organization, called Super Happy Fun America, says it wants to "celebrate the diversity and culture of the hetero community," which would constitute an "oppressed majority" in this state of Massachusetts won over the Democrats, the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004
But some of the speakers are figures of the "alt-right" (the extreme right) American, as Milo Yiannopoulos, guest of honor of the parade and former contributor of the news site Breitbart News.
"Homosexuals have been shaming me for decades," Yannopoulos told AFP. "Frankly, as a gay man, I have been attacked by homosexuals for most of my life, and these people (the supporters of heterosexual pride, Ed) make me feel good."
In the other camp, Rachel Domond, an organizer of the counter-demonstration, said she came "to oppose this hatred that exists here in Boston and in the country."
For her, the arrival of Donald Trump in power has made white supremacists now feel entitled to "say these things and tell them more and more publicly."
Several anti-Trump organizations and supporters of the gay community have called for counter-demonstrations and blocking the heterosexual walk, the route of about two kilometers, authorized by the town hall.
On August 20, 2017, local activist Monica Cannon-Grant organized a counter-demonstration in Boston to denounce racism and the extreme right after the violent riots in Charlottesville, facing a rally that claimed to defend "freedom of expression But was suspected of defending the extremists.
Counter-demonstrators, numbering more than 40,000, were then by far the most numerous.
The day had given rise to some clashes and about thirty arrests, but no serious injuries.
The message of Straight Pride is "dangerous," said this week's Mme Cannon-Grant at a Boston radio. "We have an obligation to fight."
Another "Straight Pride" held last Saturday in the city of Modesto, California, had gathered a few dozen protesters and about 250 counter-protesters, according to the local newspaper The Modesto Bee.