After Attacks, “Huge” Police Presence at Florida Pride Event

Even before a gunman opened fire Saturday at an annual LGBTQ Pride festival in Norway, police officials in a Florida city that hosts one of the largest Pride celebrations in the southeast U.S. were gearing up for “all hands on deck” to make sure the three days of festivities went off safely.

St. Petersburg Police Department Chief Anthony Holloway said that officers in uniform and plainclothes would have a “huge presence” at the weekend celebrations.

Though there were no credible threats, St. Petersburg police officers were working with state and federal agencies to monitor intelligence and an emergency operations center was activated. A marine unit was monitoring the waterfront with jets-skis and boats, the police agency said in a statement.

“The Department will deploy extra resources, including monitoring downtown street cameras, video trailers, as well as Skywatch, the Police Department’s raised video platform,” the statement said.

Organizers expected Saturday’s parade to draw more than the 260,000 attendees who went to the parade in 2019.

Concerns over safety have grown in recent weeks.

A gunman opened fire in Oslo’s nightlife district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what the Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terror act” during the capital’s annual LGBTQ Pride festival.

Earlier this month, 31 members of a white supremacist group, carrying riot gear, were arrested over accusations that they were plotting a major disruption at a Pride event in Idaho. Also this month, a group of men allegedly shouted homophobic and anti-LGBTQ slurs during a Drag Queen Story Hour at a San Francisco Bay Area library.