The morning started out with a bad omen for Chicago Pride with the discovery that overnight over 30 of the floats scheduled for today’s Gay Pride Parade were slashed in what can only be described as a hate crime.
Chuck Huser, owner of long-time Pride float provider Assocated Attractions at 4834 S. Halsted on Chicago’s South Side, said the floats were fine when he left 8 p.m. Saturday night, but when he returned 5 a.m. Sunday to start preparation for drivers to depart, he found two tires punctured each on more than 30 floats. “This is catastrophic,” he told Windy City Times at 8 a.m. June 26. “This has never happened before, and we have been doing this since 1989.” The attackers broken in but did no other damage to the floats, and they took nothing else, leaving Huser to believe this had to be a hate crime. No notes were left. Huser has filed a police report, but his main focus the morning of the Pride Parade was finding an open tire shop, where they were running back and forth to repair the tires.
Troubles at Chicago Pride also happened later in the day when hundreds of thousands of people converged on Halsted, Broadway penned in by police barricades.
The parade was also cut short and diverted by police after fighting broke out on Belmont with Floats and marchers forced to go south on Clark Street, cutting off miles from the normal route there were few police on hand to control the crowds. Most streets were just full of pedestrians, with no way for normal traffic to get through.
At one point along Halsted, spectators were jumping an 8-foot chain link fence to get out of suffocating crowds caught between the fence and the barricades.