MARKET operators and council chiefs have issued a statement following the torrent of homophobic abuse suffered by Warwickshire Pride volunteers at Stratford Market.
Volunteers from the charity, which supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community, were offering advice and guidance at the Rother Street market on Saturday.
But they were forced to close the stall down after being subjected to more than 100 incidents of verbal abuse which have since been reported to police.
Stratford District Council, Stratford Town Council and market operators LSD Promotions issued a joint statement, which read:
“Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council and LSD Promotions are committed to creating a vibrant, inclusive and welcoming market in Stratford-upon-Avon, in which everyone is free to enjoy their market experience. “The organisations condemn all hate crime and any hate incident should be reported to the Police on 101 or 999. Sadly, it appears that due to the intimidation felt by the volunteers manning the Warwickshire Pride stall on Saturday, no complaints were logged with the market management.
“LSD Promotions take all matters of abuse, intimidation and crime very seriously and would like to show our support by inviting Warwickshire Pride to return to Stratford-upon-Avon Market to promote their work and would look to provide security to ensure they feel safe and protected.”
A Warwickshire Pride spokesperson said: “Although what happened has been deeply upsetting and distressing, it has not deterred us from continuing to work for LGBT people in Stratford.
“If anything, we are more determined to ensure that LGBT people in Stratford feel safe and able to be who they are.
Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi tweeted: “This is outrageous and should never happen anywhere.”