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Rob Ford demands Pride flag be removed from City Hall

Rob Ford has asked the city manager to take down a Pride flag that was raised this morning at City Hall in solidarity with gay athletes at the Sochi Olympics.

"This is about the Olympics, this is about being patriotic to your country," Ford said. "This is not about sexual preference." The mayor says he wants it replaced with a Canadian flag.

The rainbow flag was installed on the courtesy flagpole outside City Hall with the help of Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. The pole is reserved for flags that promote "activities such as fund-raising drives, multi-cultural events and national or independence days," according to the city website.

Toronto non-profit 519 Church Street Community Centre requested the flag-raising at the suggestion of Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

Kelly called the Pride flag "a statement that we're not afraid to stand up for the rights and privileges that are being abused in other parts of the world."

"So there's nothing un-Canadian about that," he said. "In fact that's a very Canadian thing to do to be concerned and care about others."

Yesterday, Ford said he wouldn't be attending World Pride in Toronto this summer. "I've never gone to a Pride parade. So I'm not going to change the way I am," he said.

Right now the flag is still flying, as it is at other city halls elsewhere in Canada. Ford, meanwhile, has put up a Canadian flag in his office window.

UPDATE: 13:58: The CBC's Jamie Strashin reports on Twitter that the mayor has graciously allowed the flag to remain following a meeting with Councillor Anthony Perruzza, just as long as it's accompanied by a Canadian flag.

UPDATE: 15:00: Two uniformed police officers are in Ford's office this afternoon following a "threat" received by the mayor, according to Katie Simpson on CP24. The nature of the threat hasn't been made public.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Chris Bateman/blogTO.


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