Above Photo: Jeff Paterson/Bradley Manning Support Network (unrestricted use with credit)
Over 1,000 supporters of openly gay whistle-blower, PFC Bradley Manning, marched in the Bradley Manning Support Network contingent in the SF Pride Parade today. The anchors of KOFY TV’s live coverage noted that it was the largest non-corporate contingent in the Parade, second only to Google overall.
The contingent featured former military strategist Daniel Ellsberg who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Ellsberg, adorned with a pink boa, rode on a pickup truck declaring Bradley Manning “The People’s Grand Marshal.”
The contingent featured dozens of supporters riding aboard a trolley car, the Brass Liberation Orchestra marching band, and a synchronized dance group doing a routine to Michael Jackson’s “They don’t care about us”. High above Market Street, an airplane dragged a banner reading “Our LGTBQ Hero – Bradley Manning”.
Among the marchers was SF Pride’s legal counsel, Brooke Oliver, who recently resigned after 15 years because of the SF Pride Board’s handling of the Manning debacle. Bevan Dufty, former SF Supervisor and now the mayor’s point person on homelessness, stepped down as a Grand Marshal, also because of the Pride Board’s actions. Community activists and leaders spent two months battling with SF Pride insisting that Manning be reinstated as a Grand Marshal after the Pride Board rescinded his honor.
Organizations including the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, SEIU Local 1021, and Global Exchange also showed support for Manning in their contingents. New York City, Seattle, Chicago, and Minneapolis also had Manning support contingents in their Pride parades yesterday.
Hundreds of supporters later packed the Roccapulco night club for an after party fundraiser for Manning’s legal fees.
This is the third consecutive year that the Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist has organized a Manning contingent in the SF Pride Parade, but this year’s numbers far surpassed the previous two.
More: LGBTQ Supports Manning