Riding the lead float in the NYC pride parade this year, will be Pulse owner Barbara Poma and the club’s entertainment manager Neema Bahrami. The float will be surrounded by a color guard carrying 49 orange flags, each with a rainbow stripe, to remember the victims, organizers said. Marchers will follow directly behind, carrying banners, reading #WeAreOrlando and #SomosOrlando.
The parade will also pay tribute to the victims the Orlando massacre, with a reading of the names of the 49 men and women murdered in the club, followed by a minute’s silence.
City officials said Thursday they expect the largest turnout in the parade’s history, following the Orlando attacks, but stressed that there will be an increased police presence to ensure the crowd’s safety.
“You will be safe, you will be protected,” Mayor de Blasio said. “You’ll see a lot of the same protections that are in place at every Pride parade, and you’ll see more as well. Some will be visible, and there will be other important measures you won’t see.”
NYPD chief of patrol Carlos Gomez told the paper hat there will be 20,000 people partaking in the parade itself, with 85 floats, numerous bands and vehicles, and more than 200 motorcycles.
That plus the additional expected audience means a serious response.
In this case, Gomez said, that means radiation detectors and bomb dogs, as well as cameras, police helicopters and rooftop-mounted police officers to keep eyes on the route. The waterways on Manhattan’s West Side will also be patrolled by NYPD boats. And additional police officers will be placed in subway stations, to keep eyes open for suspicious activity – and to help keep order, as residents turn to public transportation to deal with curtailed traffic.
Gomez asked anyone seeing anything suspicious to notify their nearest police officer or the NYPD counter-terrorism department. “Certainly, if you see something, if you hear something, report it. You won’t have to look for an officer. There will be so many along the route and in the surrounding areas.”
The NYPD’s counter-terrorism department can be contacted on (888) NYC-SAFE.