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Watch: San Francisco Pride Disrupted with Mace, Scuffles

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 28, 2022

Pride celebrations taking place at San Francisco Civic Center after the June 26 Pride parade came to an early end after an unidentified person sprayed mace into the crowd from a stage, sparking a panic, and scuffles erupted, NBC Bay Area reported.

One Pride attendee described being hit with the mace. "My face, my eyes, my mouth, throat, I couldn't breathe," she told local news channel ABC 7.

The chemical attack caused people to flee, which in turn caused others to run. Rumors of an active shooter spread through the crowd, reports said, prompting a police response.

However, the police "were unable to locate any victims or witnesses, adding that there is no evidence of a shooting that took place during Sunday's festivities," ABC 7 detailed.

One Pride attendee, Zen Williams, told NBC, "Everyone was panicked. Everyone was screaming but like nobody really knew what was going on at first, so I was kind of like 'why is everyone scared?' and then I just heard, 'gun, gun, gun.'"

The current tense political situation helped trigger the crowd's panicked response, the article noted.

"NBC Bay Area spoke to several people running from the area and many had no idea what was going on but said with everything else going on around the nation, they decided to run when they saw others doing the same," NBC Bay Area said.

"I literally, I tweeted the other day, I'm kind of scared to go to Pride just because I've seen all the stuff that's been going around different Pride events," Williams told the news outlet.

One recent incident that was stopped before it started involved a U-Haul packed with 31 members of right-wing white supremacist militia Patriot Front who, when apprehended, were wearing balaclavas over their faces and were equipped with riot shields and shin guards. Their plan had evidently been to disrupt or attack a Pride celebration in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Police pulled over the U-Haul and arrested the militia members after a concerned citizen reported "a little army" loading up into the U-Haul in a hotel parking lot, an AP story said.

Concerned about safety, the organizers of San Francisco Pride "shut down a musical performance on the Kaiser Permanente main stage early at Sunday's Pride celebration after the incident," NBC Bay Area reported, and sent out a tweet informing the public, "We decided to cut the performance short in the interest of safety."

Police on the scene ushered people away from the festivities, the report added, but "a new problem happened as there were reports of multiple street brawls."

NBC cited a video captured by a Pride goer that "showed two people fighting and others trying to join them."

"Honestly, it's kind of what I expected just because of how things are going in the country," Williams commented.

But others said that the event was a positive experience overall.

"It's so exciting," one Pride goer told ABC 7. "We've been in COVID, we've been locked down, restricted of some of our privileges. I'm just excited that we can reunite and have fun and continue our traditions."

Another Pride attendee, Antonio Chavez, told NBC, "'s Pride, we're going to show resilience."

Watch the NBC Bay Area news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.