Two protests planned for Coquitlam City Centre next Saturday, Oct. 21, have forced the organizer of one event to put on the brakes due to public safety.
On Thursday, Oct. 12, a spokesperson for the Coquitlam Public Library told the Tri-City News that the drag queen story time reading that was scheduled for next Saturday will be postponed to a later date — at the request of RCMP.
Mounties spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said if the drag queen story time went ahead, police would have also been trying to control the 1 Million March 4 Children, a nationwide protest against SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) teachings in public schools that follows a similar outcry last month at Coquitlam City Hall.
According to the 1 Million March 4 Children website, Lower Mainland marches on Oct. 21 are expected to be staged in:
Another two dozen marches are set to happen around B.C.
A request for comment from the 1 Million March 4 Children organization wasn't immediately returned; however, its last gathering at Coquitlam City Hall on Sept. 20 saw a SOGI supporter punched in the face while others holding Pride flags were ridiculed.
Hodgins said to ensure the public remains safe, the detachment asked the library to put its story time on hold.
"The Coquitlam RCMP has adequate resources to support the library and the event; however, we have simultaneous high-risk events occurring at the same time," she wrote.
"In addition, we are stepping up police presence and patrols at our synagogues, mosques and places of worship given current world events. Police will continue to work with the Coquitlam Public Library in future planning events to ensure public safety is maintained."
Samantha Wink, marketing and communications manager for the Coquitlam Public Library, said staff are disappointed that the drag queen story story time is postponed.
"Coquitlam Public Library is dedicated to providing a safe space for people of all orientations, genders, religions and nationalities," she wrote.
"Though we are saddened by having to change our event, we are extremely grateful for the words of support from our patrons and community members and look forward to providing more inclusive, engaging and welcoming events in the future."