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Vancouver group pitches compromise over police Pride Parade participation

People watch the Vancouver Pride Parade on Aug. 4, 2013.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Vancouver Pride Society has responded to demands that police be banned from marching in the city's annual Pride Parade with the suggestion that officers show up in fewer numbers and leave their uniforms at home.

The society, which organizes the annual event, says its proposal was inspired by an open letter from a Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter, followed by six months of community consultations.

The anti-racism activist group asked the Vancouver Police Department last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the march as "a show of solidarity and understanding" because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.

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The request came shortly after Black Lives Matter in Toronto blocked that city's parade until organizers agreed to demands that included barring police floats from future events.

Last week in Vancouver, a group of transgender activists presented the Pride society with a petition urging it to allow police to participate in uniform, arguing that banning officers could undermine the positive relationship between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement.

Police have marched in Vancouver's Pride Parade since 2002.

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