LOS ANGELES - "It’s good to get back here," said a rainbow-flag-decked LAPD Chief Michel Moore, while he marched with other officers at the LA Pride Parade. It’s back in Hollywood after 44 years, including a two-year break due to COVID. But mask-wearing was less of a concern for some than the possibility of a terrorist attack, after the arrests of 31 people near a Pride event in Idaho Saturday.
Authorities say the suspects are members of the supremacist group Patriot Front, and were stopped in a U-Haul van near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event. A tipster had called 911 describing what looked "like a little army" loading into the vehicle, where police found riot gear and at least one smoke bomb.
Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "white nationalist hate group". LAPD Chief Moore said that he was aware of the situation, and had plenty of "seen and unseen" assets at LA’s Pride event, quickly adding, "but look at this crowd, the energy is so positive, people are happy to be here, and I am proud of being an Angeleno".
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People at the event who were aware of the arrests in Idaho told us that dealing with the possibility of something like that happening is a reality of life these days, especially those with children, after recent school shootings in states like Texas. "That’s why it’s important to bring them to this event" said one mom cleaning melting ice cream from her boys’ faces, adding that the children need to know this is a community that will keep them safe.
LA"s parade went off without incident, with thousands of people staying for the Pride Village events that surrounded it.