An LGBT group has called for a meeting to discuss the police response to a protest at last weekend’s Pride Sheffield event.
Neale Gibson, secretary of LGBT Sheffield, has written to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings complaining about the ‘inaction’ of the police at the event in Endcliffe Park on Saturday, when a small group of religious protesters turned up with megaphones.
They shouted insults at Pride attendees, telling them they would ‘burn in hell for their sins’.
The group was quickly surrounded by festivalgoers, and the event organisers asked the police to move the group to the edge of the park.
However, this suggestion was not taken up, Mr Gibson claimed.
He said: “The feeling was that they were invading a safe space.
“I’ve heard it all myself and I’m immune to it, but there were a number of young people there who were particularly upset. They hadn’t come across that kind of hate speech before.
“They felt that they weren’t safe.”
LGBT Sheffield has worked with Dr Billings before, but Mr Gibson said: “The feeling we are getting back from the community is what’s the point, when what seems to be a hate crime happens and police don’t do anything.”
A spokesman for Dr Billings said he was aware of the incident, had been in contact with the local ward councillor, and had a briefing from the neighbourhood inspector.
A meeting has been scheduled for August 16 between Dr Billings, LGBT Sheffield, SAYIT (a charitable support group for young LGBT people in Sheffield), and Pride Sheffield and Mr Gibson to discuss the matter in detail.
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