Christian protesters disrupted the second annual Jeju Queer Cultural Festival in South Korea on Saturday (29 September).
About 50 demonstrators held placards, grabbed LGBTI attendees, and lay down on the street to prevent the pride march, according to attendees.
‘Some of the participants [of the pride event] were terrified’ Min Soo Kim, official photographer, told Gay Star News. Protesters delayed the pride parade by an hour.
Homosexuality is legal in South Korea. But conservative attitudes, especially among Christians, force many LGBTI Koreans to live in the closet.
There is currently no discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI Koreans.
A fair including booths and performances starting from noon at Sinsan Park, Jeju City passed with only minor disturbances from 30-40 protesters, according to attendees.
But, nearly 100 protesters had gathered at the park’s exit by the time pride parade was due to start in mid-afternoon.
About 700 LGBTI Koreans and allies amassed to take part in the parade.
At the exit of the park, protesters blocked the parade and carried homophobic placards. One said ‘homosexual = aids’, according to Min Soo Kim.
Other protesters were grabbing and yelling at attendees, praying, crying, and taking photos and videos.
Some protesters lay down in front of and even under one of the two pride floats, forcing organizers to abandon the vehicle.
Protesters’ actions delayed the pride by about one hour.
찻길에 드러누웠던 포비아가 트럭 아래로 돌진하는 모습 gif pic.twitter.com/HB6x17qvWM
— 네거티브 황희(METAMONG) (@metamongbites) September 29, 2018
On Friday, organizer HyunJeong Shin told Gay Star News they’d hired security personnel and plan to work together with police.
‘We will no longer allow hate speech and interference’ HyunJeong Shin said. ‘All illegal activities will be handled legally’.
But, on Saturday, Min Soo Kim said police were slow to react to violence from protesters.
‘They should have been more strict on the protesters’ said Min Soo Kim.
‘Police need to protect the freedom of assembly, but they didn’t. The protesters were breaking the law’.
Meanwhile, officials in the city of Busan have warned organizers of a pride event on 6 October that they will be breaking the law if the pride festival goes ahead.
While police have given permission for a parade in the city, local officials turned down an application from organizers.