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Tighter Parade Restrictions Could Lead To Pride Parade Arrests

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 15, 2013 3:00PM

The tighter parade restrictions championed by Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) to keep the South Side Irish Parade family friendly will have ramifications on parades across Chicago now that they’ve been passed by City Council, especially marches like the Chicago Pride Parade, another parade that’s marked by rampant drinking in public.

That’s because the tougher fines and punishments O’Shea is proposing would apply to all parades in Chicago. The tightened parade ordinance raises fines for drinking within 200 feet of an in-progress parade to $500 and doubling the maximum fine to $1,000. The alternative to the fines would be six months in jail. Anyone caught pissing in public near a parade in progress could face similar fines and jail terms of five-to-ten days in jail.

That’s okay with 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney, who voted for the tighter fines and restrictions while noting the South Side Irish Parade is a different beast than the Chicago Pride Parade and other events in his ward.

”The combination of Wrigley, Gay Pride, Halsted Street — our commanders are well-versed. They’re using common sense. They now have a tougher penalty for enforcement when they decide that it’s in the best interest of public safety to get these people arrested.”

Last year’s Pride parade drew a record 850,000 people along an amended route. In an effort to reduce congestion, organizers are separating the Chicago Pride Parade and Pridefest. The festival will happen June 22 and 23, while the parade will take place June 30.