Straight pride demonstration draws protestors


MODESTO, Calif. (CNN) — A controversial straight pride event in Modesto, Calif., was met with protests Saturday.

The event came together even after the city of Modesto had denied a permit for it.

A large crowd formed on McHenry Street in Modesto. People holding signs, making noise and speaking out against Don Grundmann, the organizer of the event.

For weeks, he’s advertised having a straight pride event.

“This is an example of free speech in our country. It’s a one-way street. They want free speech, but they don’t want to give us free speech,” Grundmann said.

When he showed up Saturday afternoon, people against his message say they wanted to outnumber him, surrounding his sign promoting the Straight Pride Coalition.

“Apathy and not confronting fascists when they come out into the society and public space in our communities, it makes it unsafe for queer people, people of color,” Sabine Tischler said.

Grundmann said “they want to shut us down with violence, they want to threaten us with violence that they’ll hurt us and we aren’t going to be intimidated.”

Modesto police came prepared, on foot, on bikes and on horseback, just in case things did turn violent. But protestors on both sides stayed peaceful.

“I think people are able to express their frustrations and fears and just upsetness with what’s going on,” Mimsey Ferar said.

Earlier in the day, people protesting against straight pride met in Enslen Park to promote their message.

“I wanted to come out here and be peaceful and rally with a bunch of rainbow colors and have a great day,” Michelle Riddle said.

“This is the start of the community together, more empowerment, more liberation for us more new spaces for us new spaces where we can vocalize what we’ve been feeling for so long,” Lilly Solorio said.

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