Countries, Europe

Fifty years of Pride in all our protest marches

And as human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell recalled Fifty Years of London’s first Pride march today it got us thinking about Fifty years of Pride in all our protest marches.

Because just think how greyer the world would be without this explosion of colour, music, dancing, and yes, we said it canoodling.

It might approximate to my back yard here in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh.

Where grey power rules and I got ne’er a look when I walked along the beach and through town with my Oktoberfest pigtail wig.

Now back to the protest marches that have touched me, some of them where I have even retraced the footsteps of those who have marched before.

Let’s hear it for New York

Pride, New York, 1970: And it may be 50 years or more since the heyday of Greenwich Village and its beat poets, singers.

And gay scene, but it is still one of the must-visit neighbourhoods in Manhattan.

The event, officially known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall Rising.

It covered about 50 blocks and drew just a few thousand participants.

But it sparked a movement across the States and across the Atlantic..

With the 50th anniversary event two years ago drawing five million, roughly the population of Scotland, or Ireland.

March on Washington

The King and I: In DC

March on Washington, 1963:  Now there are some moments in time when you just wish you could have been there… and listen to what the Man said.

The next best thing is to visit Washington DC and stand at the Lincoln Memorial.

And let your imagination take you to one day in 1963 when Dr Martin Luther King had a dream.

Visit too the deliberately unfinished statue to MLK… the idea is that it cannot be finished until all of us are free.

Derry shall not be moved

Free Derry: Bishop Daly on Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday, 1972: And the massacre of civilians protesting for Civil Rights in the 70s has long been what most of us associate the town on the Bann with.

There is a museum which maps out that atrocity and The Troubles for visitors,

But while the town rightly and in a dignified manner remember those 14 casualties and all who died in the Troubles.

It equally celebrates its own Halloween festival and the spectacular Derry Girls.

Jarrow and price of freedom

Up the workers: The Jarrow March

Jarrow, 1936: ‘My name is Geordie McIntyre, An’ the Bairns don’t even have a fire
So the wife says “Geordie, go to London Town!”
And if they don’t give us half a chance, Don’t even give us a second glance
Then Geordie, with my blessings, burn them down.’ – ALAN PRICE

And while my less than scientific trawl through Google throws up many deserving protest marches the Jarrow March more than has its place in history.

Two-hundred men of Jarrow set out in 1936 for the British capital London to protest at the closure of their shipyard.

It took them 26 days and they were fed and sheltered along the way by well-wishers while also taking their rest where they could find it.

And South Shields, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north-east of England commemorates them at their museum and in the town.

Tear down this Wall


Leipzig, 1989: And the first chink in the wall appeared with the Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig between October and November.

It started with hundreds of Germans gathering in the Saxon town to peacefully protest the communist regime.

The next week, thousands more gathered in other cities throughout East Germany.

And the Monday Demonstrations continued every week until November 9, 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell.

Let’s take pride, of course, every time the people march.

Particularly as those who lead in our name try to dismiss the legal threat to strike.

And let’s celebrate fifty years of Pride in all our protest marches.




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