Numerous arrests over the weekend at a pride event in Idaho are causing local organizers to increase safety measures at upcoming events in South Florida.
In Wilton Manors, event organizers are excited about Saturday's Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival.
“We are back in full force so you will see everything bigger and better,” said organizer Jameer Baptiste.
But in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 31 people were arrested over the weekend after a U-Haul truck was found with people from a white supremacy group wearing masks and shields. Police say they planned to riot the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event.
“It’s just a disheartening thing to hear and kind of scary,” said Baptiste. “So, that’s why it’s important for us to make sure that we have as much protection as possible.”
Event organizers in Wilton Manors are adding 200 private security officers, in addition to the law enforcement from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Wilton Manors Police Department.
“We are aware of the recent events in Idaho and Palm Beach involving protests and threats to other Pride events," Assistant Chief of Police for Wilton Manors, Darren Brodsky, told NBC 6. "There will be increased vigilance and awareness on behalf of our staff, officers and community and we will be ready to maintain the highest levels of public safety on this important day for our LGBTQ+ community.”
Thankfully a 911 call allowed police to arrest the people in Idaho before anything bad happened. And in West Palm, police also got ahead of an online threat of a mass shooting at the Pride on the Block event.
“We do not have information that would suggest a pending threat. However, we will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect our community," said the FBI's James Marshall. "We will continue to work and share information with our state, local, and federal law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security partners to detect, disrupt, and dismantle any threats that may emerge. "
Local pride organizers say these safety scares are just another attack on the LGBTQ+ community, but it won’t stop the pride party.
“It’s more of a reason for us to celebrate," said Baptiste.
Organizers say security costs have increased for this year’s event. Which means the entry fee has gone up from $5 to $10. NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 are proud sponsors of next weekend’s event.