June 23, 2011

New Yorkers Celebrate Gay Soldier and Alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning in Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade

New Yorkers will march on behalf of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning in this year’s LGBT Pride Parade on Sunday, June 26th.

The NYC “Free Bradley Manning” Pride contingent is part of an international campaign calling on the US government to drop all charges against Manning. Similar contingents are being organized for Pride celebrations across the world in honor of Manning as an outspoken member of the LGBT community.

"The people who committed war crimes should be the ones in prison- not Bradley Manning. He is a hero for exposing brutal war crimes,” says Elias Holtz of Freedom Socialist Party, one of the organizers of the NYC Free Bradley Manning Pride contingent. “As a gay soldier he stood outside of the war machine and committed an act of humanity- risked his own safety to expose the truth of these ugly wars to all of us. Now it's our part as the queer community to show our support for his act and fight for his freedom."

U.S. soldier PFC Manning is openly gay and has rallied in support of same-sex marriage rights and campaigned against “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policies restricting gay military personnel. He is currently imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on accusations of leaking classified government information to WikiLeaks and ultimately to the public.

“Gay rights and human rights are two sides of the same coin. While the media has blamed Manning's sexuality for his 'betrayal' of the US, and groups such as the Human Rights Campaign have not commented on Manning's imprisonment, we are here to say we are proud to have Manning as a gay hero who has stood up for human rights,” says Malak Behrouznami of CODEPINK.

Twenty-three year old Manning was arrested in Iraq on May 26, 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin later this summer.

“NYC Pride is a gorgeously cacophonous affair, but in the spirit of the Stonewall Rebellion, we’ve got to stand up for someone who has fought hard for the community, and then gave up his freedom in his quest for truth and transparency,” says Kris Lew, one of the organizers of Sunday’s Pride contingent. “I want to show Bradley Manning that I hold his humanity close to my heart, and to show Obama that not only will we NOT forget Bradley Manning; we demand his freedom."

The Free Bradley Manning Pride contingent will meet at 12:00 pm on Sunday, June 26th on 37th Street and Madison. The contingent represents a coalition of groups including Veterans for Peace, World Can't Wait, CODEPINK, Peace Action New York State, Freedom Socialist Party, Brooklyn for Peace and Radical Women.

For more information contact or call 866-973-4463.