FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Northwest Arkansas Pride is Saturday, June 18, and some posts circulating on social media about protestors at the event were causing some concerns. The posts are from the organization Arkansas Patriot Coalition saying members were planning to protest at the event.
“We have no plans to bother anybody at NWA Pride or any other pride festival or any other thing like that,” said Scott Parker.
President Scott Parker says his organization has never been to a protest.
“That’s not who we are, that’s not what we do. We are a peaceful group. I’d like to be disassociated with anything remotely resembling what we’ve been accused of,” he said.
With the group of suspected patriot front members being arrested on their way to protest at a pride parade in Idaho. Fayetteville Police Sergeant Anthony Murphy says they will have a robust officer presence in and around the entertainment district.
“Prior to the events that happened in Idaho we did have a large contingency but after those events, of course, we have upped our numbers and we’ll be prepared,” he said.
Murphy asks everyone to help police the community and if you see something to say something.
“One of the big helps in the Idaho incident, a concerned citizen saw something that looked suspicious and let law enforcement know and law enforcement was able to stop an incident from occurring before it happened,” he said.
Megan Tullock with NWA Equality, the group putting on NWA pride says they are expecting 30,000 people to attend their festival. She says they always have protesters at pride which probably keeps some people from coming.
“Then there are people where that fires us up, you know and makes us feel like we do have a right to be here and if protestors show up and we don’t, we’ve given them exactly what they want which is for us to kind of just disappear,” she said.
She says the reason for pride is about people not wanting us to exist, people being violent with our community, that’s why we have pride because people either want us to feel ashamed or they want to hurt us.
“Coming together and being out in public and celebrating our lives and relationships and friendships and hearts and souls and families, that’s why we do it,” she said.
The Pride festival kicks off Saturday, June 28, at 11 a.m. on Dickson Street with events going on all day.
There will also be lots of road closures in the downtown Fayetteville area tomorrow, those include the Dickson Street entertainment district area and West Avenue between Spring Street and the train bank.
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