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An activist from the Black Lives Matter movement holds up their hand during the Pride parade in Toronto on June 25, 2017. In Vancouver, the local BLM chapter organized an alternate Pride march in support of the LGBTQ community.

Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press

Crowds chanted "Black Lives Matter" in a downtown Vancouver park Sunday before marching in support of the LGBTQ community.

March on Pride, organized by the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, was an alternative event to the annual parade that the group says is more welcoming to marginalized groups by blocking police and corporate involvement.

Black Lives Matter organizer Cicely Blain says Pride was started as a protest against police violence on minorities and Sunday's event was intended to follow that tradition and allow people of colour to feel safe and be the focus of celebration.

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The Vancouver Pride Society reached an agreement with local police earlier this year that will allow officers to walk in the Aug. 6 parade alongside other city staff members and fire officials.

Only 20 per cent of the police contingent will be in uniforms while the rest will walk in T-shirts and no marked police vehicles will be permitted.

But Black Lives Matter organizers say police presence at the parade leaves many minority groups who historically and currently experience violence and prejudice to feel unsafe.

"The society that we live in exists on the very foundation that our lives do not matter and subsequently when institutions like the police say that they serve and protect, that does not apply to us," Blain said.

Organizer Joy Gyamfi told the crowd that police institutions haven't changed enough and fail to discuss issues such as racial profiling.

"Black people are queer too and there can't be pride for some of us without liberation for all of us," she said.

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