Despite initial denials, Pride London has now confirmed that it will scale back some of its planned World Pride 2012 events.
Earlier this week, Pride London refuted claims by the Evening Standard newspaper, that it might have to cancel or cut back on some events due to monies owed to four suppliers from last year’s event.
On Thursday, however, the organisation was forced to admit on its website that changes will indeed be made to its programme in the next week as “it is prudent to deliver an event that is affordable”.
This year, with the city in the international spotlight thanks to the upcoming Olympic Games, London’s annual gay Pride celebrations are doubling up as a World Pride commemoration.
Pride London announced that the parade set to take place on July 7 will now be a “procession”. It will cover the same route as planned, but there will be no vehicles or floats participating.
It is unclear if those who paid up Â£2,500 to place floats in the parade will be refunded.
Pride London also said that celebrations in Trafalgar Square “are expected to proceed, but with some changes to the programme, including an earlier start and finish time”.
Finally, official events planned to take place in Soho, including a large party in Golden Square, have been cancelled.
Organisers blamed the “difficult economic climate” for a shortfall in sponsorship.
LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who helped organise Britain’s first gay Pride parade in London 40 years ago, said the news was a “huge blow to London and its gay community”.
According to behind the scenes reports, London police and municipal authorities say that the World Pride organisers have failed to advance the necessary funds to cover this year’s events although organisers insisted that the funds would have been raised eventually.
Tatchell urged London’s mayor, police and Westminster council “to re-open negotiations with the World Pride organisers to allow the scheduled events to take place, for the sake of the million-plus people expected to participate and to avoid widespread chaos across central London”.
This year is the first time that London has hosted World Pride, which brings together lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from all over the world to participate in a parade, rally and human rights conference. The event’s slogan is: Decriminalise homosexuality worldwide – Global equality for LGBT people.
“The actions of the authorities will turn what would have been a positive event for London into a PR disaster. Vast numbers of people will be left feeling let down and angry,” warned Tatchell.