On Monday night, protesters who accused SF Pride, which organizes the parade, of "turning its back on activism and dissent" gathered outside the group’s headquarters in San Francisco to protest the decision. Among the speakers at the protest was Daniel Ellsberg, who famously released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times during the Vietnam War.
In the crowd, protesters shouted: "They say court martial!—We say Grand Marshal!"
The controversy started last week when Manning was nominated by a group of former Grand Marshals, who form a sort of ‘electoral college’ for new marshals. But after initially accepting the nomination, the Board of Directors unceremoniously—and critics say "hatefully"—rescinded the honor on Friday following criticism from constituents hostile to Manning’s anti-war leanings.
“Our message to SF Pride is that they should make Manning a grand marshal of this year’s Pride march and celebration because of his brave act of whistleblowing against the military industrial complex,” said Michael Petrelis, one of the organizers of Monday night’s protest. “We are fed up with marriage and military concerns sucking the oxygen out of what used to be a queer movement and Pride march and celebration about social justice for queers.”