Spooked crowd at NYC Pride parade flees in panic when fireworks mistaken as gunfire

After a two-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic, the New York City Pride parade took place Sunday and nearly ended with tragedy after crowds numbering in the thousands were spooked into a stampede by what they believed was gunfire.

Working its way through Manhattan to pass significant monuments for the LGBT movement, revelers from the parade made their way from the endpoint in Chelsea back to Greenwich Village where festivities were taking place in and around Washington Square Park. As dusk set in, confusion and panic overtook the masses when someone reportedly set off fireworks at the gathering.

“Stampede of Pride goers starts at Washington Square Park after fireworks are mistaken for gunshots,” one photojournalist wrote after capturing the explosions from a distance.

Another captured the sea of people fleeing the scene from a building overlooking the park.

With the gathering taking place only a couple days after the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, some attempted to assert that the panic was driven by attendees already on edge believing their rights are in jeopardy.

Organizers of the parade, the second-largest of its kind in the United States behind the annual event in San Francisco, according to AFP, critiqued the “devastating” ruling from the Supreme Court saying, “This dangerous decision puts millions in harm’s way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.”

Another person on scene who captured footage wrote, “Queer and trans people are so worried about shootings now that there was a stampede at pride. Someone shot off fireworks in Washington Square Park and everyone ran.”

The narrative from progressives opposing the ruling from the Supreme Court is that decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level, will eventually be overturned like Roe v. Wade. However, Justice Clarence Thomas argued in his concurrence of Dobbs that that would only happen if “other constitutional provisions” did not in fact “guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

In other words, the supposed rights protected by “substantive due process” would only go away if found that they were not rights in the first place.

NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey posted within minutes of reports on the ground that an investigation had concluded there was no gunfire at the park. “Be advised there have been NO shots fired in Washington Square Park,” the notice read. “After an investigation, we determined there were fireworks set off at the location.”

AFP was able to confirm from police that “there were no serious injuries” resulting from the rush of people charging away from the park.


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