A small group of “No Police At Pride” protesters marched in front of a group of Victoria Police officers at Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride Parade in St Kilda on Sunday.

The group jumped in front of members of the state’s police force who were walking in the march and then began walking directly in front of them as they protested their presence there.

Protesters held up signs with the words “No Pride In Prisons” and aimed at Victoria Police and SERCO, a company that runs immigration and justice and correction services with the Commonwealth of Australia, per IBISWorld.

They also chanted “LGBT shut the prisons set them free” and “too many coppas, not enough justice”. Officers marched behind them and were dressed in uniform.

Queer community member on unceded Wurundjeri land Charlotte Lynch attended the protest. She told PEDESTRIAN.TV that the group “stand in solidarity with incarnated and criminalised people”.

“We call on Midsumma to remove Victoria Police from the Pride March and divest from corporations that profit from human misery.

“Victoria Police’s presence makes queer events less safe for First Nations and people of colour, trans and gender diverse folks, sex workers, homeless people and many others.

“Midsumma’s association with Serco is an embarrassment to the LGBTQIA+ community while they profit from locking up refugees and committing human rights abuses in the Park Hotel prison and offshore detention centres,” Lynch added.

“Pride is for community, not cops and corporations.”

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies had been calling on the state’s police force to step down from marching at this year’s event because the presence of uniformed police officers made a number of queer people unsafe.

Victoria Police confirmed in December it would attend the St Kilda pride event despite heavy opposition from LGBTQIA+ organisations and after a public town hall that LGBTQIA+ people said was oddly tricky to get to.

Members of the state’s queer communities signed an open letter on January 25th calling on police officers to step down from participating in the Sunday event.

Image: Matt Hrkac