San Francisco Police were called to a Tuesday night meeting of the SF Pride organizers about next month's Gay Pride festivities after a noisy group protesting a revoked invitation for Private Bradley Manning was shut out of the room.
The board is facing a firestorm of criticism for revoking the selection of Manning as one of the parade's honorary grand marshals.
The board did not allow the news media or many of the protesters inside, saying it would be a fire hazard given the small size of the room.
That decision just fueled demonstrators fury.
"Why is it not open to the public, or the press?" asked on protester.
The hallway is as far as protesters got in delivering a message to the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors.
SF Pride's Chief Operating Officer Earl Plante said the meeting was to try to quell the recent uproar stemming from the decision to revoke an invitation that had been extended to Private First Class Bradley Manning.
Manning is the gay man who leaked 700,000 classified government documents to Wikileaks. He is currently awaiting a court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, on charges of violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. He faces a possible life sentence.
"Part the reason we wanted to have this meeting tonight is to really listen to the community, share their concerns and try to move forward in a proactive way," said Plante.
Since the Manning decision, Plante said threats have been made to board members and volunteers. That was why access to the meeting was limited.
But protesters weren't buying Plante's explanation. They also said they wouldn't accept the organization's apology.
"They should do more than apologize for that," said anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg. "They should rescind their error for slandering him and going against the electoral process."
Manning was included on the original ballot for selecting the Pride Parade's honorary grand marshals. The board now says it was a mistake to have Manning as a possible selection because he is not a local hero.
Attorney David Waggoner Tuesday filed a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
"Those members of the pride board who voted for Bradley Manning did so out of a moral conviction that he should be recognized," said Waggoner. "The board invalidated that and that is discrimination."
SF Pride said there will be another meeting next week in a larger room to accomodate all concerned.
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