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9 August 2017

Support for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

Mary Finch

Socialist Party members joined an excellent Leeds Pride on 5 August. It was the biggest ever Pride parade in Leeds, with over 40,000 attending.

There was a keenness among many to organise to reclaim Pride from its corporate sponsors.

Instead of being led by Sainsbury's supermarket, as the organisers planned, the parade was headed by local campaigners who cut in with a 'Pride is political' banner.

And there was overwhelming support for Socialist Party campaigns. We raised 50 fighting fund, and our stall was mobbed by overwhelmingly young, working class LGBT+ people.

We petitioned for LGBT+ rights in Northern Ireland, the only country in the UK without marriage equality, and against the deportation of Ali Feruz.

Ali is a gay journalist seeking asylum in Russia, after fleeing persecution and violence in Uzbekistan. He works for the newspaper that broke the story about the gay 'concentration camps' in Chechnya. In a blatantly political attack the Russian state plans to deport him back to Uzbekistan.

There was an instinctive understanding of the need for international solidarity. One person commented: 'If that was me, I'd need people to help me'. She was one of many who signed the petition and took a photo with our solidarity posters to send to Ali.