A pride festival and parade in South Korea’s Busan went ahead without major disruption from conservative protestors on Saturday (13 October).
Some 2,000 police kept the event’s 15,000 attendees safe, according to organizer Minsoo Kim.
About 1,000 protesters attempted to disrupt the second annual Busan Queer Festival but clashes with attendees were only very minor, Minsoo Kim told Gay Star News.
‘I am so happy that we could hold the event in safety and with a lot of fun’, he said.
While homosexuality is legal in South Korea, powerful conservative Christian groups regularly lobby against LGBTI rights. Recently, they have become more active in disrupting public LGBTI events. There is currently no discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI Koreans.
Local administration had denied Busan Queer Festival organizers permission to hold the event in one of the city’s main squares. Organizers filed the relevant documentation last month.
Attendees rallied outside a local government office after the event on Saturday to protest what they said was discrimination from local officials. They also denounced the violence at other pride events.
Violence at pride events
Violence marred pride events in the port city of Incheon and on the island of Jeju in recent weeks.
In Incheon, anti-LGBTI protesters physically blocked 300 pride attendees from leaving a plaza and beginning a march. They also grabbed attendees and damaged pride flags.
Incheon city officials had denied the queer festival’s request to host the event, citing a lack of parking. Organizers, therefore, lodged an appeal and vowed to march anyway.
In Jeju, 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’ an official photographer told Gay Star News.