Court says Guayaquil cannot stop gay pride parade
A provincial court panel has ordered the city of Guayaquil to allow a “Gay Pride” parade Saturday in the city center. The new city government had denied LGBTQ groups a parade permit, arguing it would disrupt downtown traffic. As an alternative, the mayor’s office suggested the event be held at Parque Samanes, away form the city center.
According to the Guayas Provincial Court, the parade has traditionally started at the Guayaquil malecón, proceeding on Av. Olmedo to Centennial Park. “We see no justification in relocating the parade since it was allowed in the past,” the court said. It ordered the city to provide “full protection and assistance” to parade marchers.
Prior to the court order, Mayor Aquiles Álvarez said there was no agreement and no permissions for the event to be held downtown. “A march of so many hours in the busiest part of the city would require the closure of streets and extensive police protection and cannot be allowed,” he said. “We have offered a substitute location and hope the parade leadership will accept it.”
Parade organizers reacted angrily to Álvarez’s decision, calling it an attempt to “ban LGBTQ culture from the center of Guayaquil urban life,” a charge the mayor rejected.
Diane Rodríguez, a Gay Pride event promoter, noted that during his campaign, Álvarez led a lengthy political procession on Av. Olmedo. “So it is okay for the mayor to use the route if it suits his political interests but it is not okay for the gay community to use it to demonstrate our solidarity.”
Rodríguez added that Álvarez, who won the Guayaquil mayor’s race as a member of the Citizens Revolution, represented an “old prejudice for gay people” shared by other Correistas. “During the government of Rafael Correa, we encountered much hostility and neglect and are upset to see that this is continuing with the new mayor. We had hoped for a change but it obviously has not happened”
On Tuesday, the National Ombudsman’s Office voiced its support for the downtown parade, saying it was a tradition that the city should support. “The LGBTQ community has suffered a great deal of prejudice over the years and we are disappointed to see the Guayaquil government participate in it. We call on the mayor to provide the permits for the parade.”