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Seoul pride parade to defy official disapproval after ferry tragedy

Local officials have withdrawn permission for Seoul’s LGBTI pride parade after a tragic ferry sinking in April that killed 300, saying the timing of the event is now inappropriate
The Korea Queer Pride Parade in 2013
Photo by Korea Queer Pride

The organizers of the 2014 Korea Queer Festival parade have said they will hold the event despite local officials withdrawing their permission for the event.

The parade had been scheduled for 7 June in Sinchon district in Seoul but on 16 April a ferry overloaded with cargo sank, killing close to 300 people – many of them schoolchildren.

Following the tragedy a number of people complained about the timing of the event and organizers believe Christian groups are seeking to capitalize on the sinking to have the parade cancelled.

A number of people lodged complaints about the event on the district’s website but district officials deny this is the reason for them cancelling their permission.

Event organizers have said that this will not stop their plans to march and they are discussing whether to pay tribute to the ferry sinking’s victims during the parade.

A poll conducted last year found that 39% of South Koreans believe ‘homosexuality should be accepted,’ doubling since 2007 where only around 20% of people agreed with that statement.

The captain of the MV Sewol ferry and three other crew members have been charged with murder over the sinking and another 11 have been charged for abandoning the ship.

The Korea Queer Pride Festival is in its 15th year this year.

A number of other public events have been cancelled in Korea in the wake of the ferry sinking.

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