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Amid Threat of Massacre, St. Croix Holds First Pride Parade

St. Croix

A Facebook user called for owners of assault rifles to gun down parade participants.

St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, held its first LGBT Pride parade Saturday without incident -- but not without the threat of a mass shooting.

Someone posted this threat to the parade on Facebook, the Washington Blade reports: "Everyone that owns AK-47 needs to stay on roof tops and gun them down !!!! They are tipping the scale. No balance. They will become our destruction if we as a whole don't to [sic] something. They are trying to destroy Reproduction. No sin will be brought against humans for killing."

The Virgin Islands police and the FBI's field office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are investigating the matter, the Blade reports. The threat was "one of the most disgusting ones" ever made against a Pride event, Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Delroy Richards told the paper.

Police had a strong presence at the parade, where there were some anti-LGBT protesters, although parade participants and supporters turned out in far greater numbers. "Regardless of what we do, we have to do it peacefully," Virgin Islands Police Chief Winsbut McFarland told The Virgin Islands Consortium, a local publication. "At the end of the day these individuals pay taxes, work in our community, and are members of our community, and because of that my obligation is to the safety of this community, and that's what we did today."

Some politicians attended, including the territory's delegate to Congress, Stacey Plaskett, and gubernatorial candidate Albert Bryan. Bryan said people in the Caribbean, which has many residents of African descent, should sympathize with the fight for LGBT rights.

"We have to remember that a mere 67 years ago we were the ones who people wanted to castrate," he told the Consortium. "We were the ones who were hosed when we were marching -- we were the ones who they didn't want in their schools. So we have to realize that in this world people have a right to be who they are, and every day we need to celebrate the beauty of one's self."

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