More than 100 LGBTI rights advocates rallied in South Korea’s port city Incheon on Wednesday (3 October).
They were demonstrating against violence from conservative protesters and police inaction at the first Incheon Queer Culture Festival on 8 September.
The Open the Sky to Human Rights event was organized ‘to speak up against hate, and the police, and the government’, according to attendee Minsoo Kim.
Police, who circled the rally, outnumbered attendees. By late afternoon, a large group of protesters arrived, according to Kim.
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. Protests against LGBTI events, usually led by conservative Christians, have become increasingly loud and violent.
On Wednesday, LGBTI advocates set up stalls, played music and waved flags before the march.
[상황공유] 10.3 인천퀴어문화축제 혐오범죄 규탄집회 <인권의 하늘을 열자!>가 무사히 시작됐습니다! 깃발과 참여자들이 속속 도착하고 있는데요. 경찰의 보호아래 안전하고 평화로운 집회가 예상됩니다. 1시에 사전집회 개회선언을 했고, 2시부터는 현장발언을 할 예정이니 어서 와주세요! pic.twitter.com/ksfnoXgRj6
— 🌷인천퀴어문화축제🌈 (@icqcf) October 3, 2018
Pride flag smashed
Organizers of Incheon Queer Culture Festival launched a petition to bring perpetrators of violence against the LGBTI pride parade to justice.
Last month, anti-gay protesters physically blocked 300 LGBTI supporters from leaving a plaza and beginning the march.
Video shared online shows distressing scenes of protesters, believed to be conservative Christians, shouting at pride attendees.
They also appear to grab flags, banners, and even attendees. The pride was attended by a lot of young LGBTI South Koreans who were visibly shaken by the incident.
Police booked eight people involved but did not detain them. Organizers accused the police of failing to stop the violence.
About 50 demonstrators held placards, grabbed LGBTI attendees, and lay down on the street to prevent the pride march, according to attendees.