Local Pride organizers plan to boost security for upcoming festivals


Twin Cities Pride will make security more visible this year in the wake of the shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that killed 50 people, including the gunman.

Dot Belstler, the executive director of Twin Cities Pride, told BringMeTheNews Monday security at the annual event has been "mostly behind the scenes" in the past.

"We will be working with local law enforcement over the next couple of weeks to update our plans," Belstler said.

Minneapolis police plan to use bomb sniffing dogs along the pride festival's parade route – that's something that hasn't been done in the past, Belstler told KSTP.

This year's 44th annual Twin Cities Pride Festival is June 25-26 at Loring Park, and will feature 400 exhibitors and vendors.

The event usually draws up to 400,000 people, and Belstler says they expect "large crowds" this year too.

At a vigil Sunday night to remember the Orlando victims, "many speakers called for the community to come out to pride," Belstler noted.


As for Pridefest in Rochester this July, organizers told the Rochester Post Bulletin there will be heightened security and the festival may be "slightly more subdued."

Event organizers say the shooting in Orlando will not affect the Duluth Superior Pride parade and festival in September, the Duluth News Tribune says.

Fargo-Moorhead is holding its annual pride festival in August. Joshua Boschee, the chair of Fargo-Moorhead Pride, told BringMeTheNews the planning committee has a "great relationship" with local law enforcement and will consult with the Fargo Police Department to "review our current security protocols and discuss any potential enhancements that may be needed."

Nightclubs consider security changes

The shooting in Orlando also has some club owners in Minnesota considering possible security changes, KARE 11 and the Duluth News Tribune report. The nightclubs already have numerous security measures in place, and there are no major security changes being made.

However, FOX 9 saysGay 90's in Minneapolis is using metal detecting wands for the first time in club history – they've had the devices, but just haven't used them.


The latest on the Orlando shooting

Fifty people – including the gunman – were killed early Sunday morning at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said. An additional 53 people were injured.

The City of Orlando has been posting the names of the victims who have been identified on its website, asking that people keep their families in their thoughts.


The incident began just after 2 a.m., before turning into a hostage situation. Around 5 a.m., police made the decision to go in and rescue 30 hostages.

The suspect – 29-year-old Omar Mateen, of Fort Pierce, Florida – was killed in a shootout with police.

Mateen was an American citizen who purchased his weapons legally within the last week. During the shooting, he "talked about bombs" and "said he was wearing a vest," Orlando police tweeted Monday.

At a news conference Monday, FBI Director James Comey said the FBI is leading the federal terrorism investigation into the shooting, noting there are "strong indications" of radicalization.

"We see no indication this was a plot directed from outside the United States," Comey said. But the suspect did claim solidarity with the Islamic State, as well as the Boston Marathon bombers and a suicide bomber in Syria.


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