Police in South Korea’s Daegu city have granted permission for a pride event scheduled for Saturday (29 June) to take place.
It comes as mainly Christian, conservative anti-LGBT groups continue to disrupt pride events throughout the country.
Police on Monday (24 June) said freedom of assembly was protected by the constitution. The force promised to punish any interference with the rally.
Daegu police came under fire last year for failing to prevent violence.
On Monday, they promised to ‘carry out our role as a human rights protection agency … and do our best to ensure that the right to rally and protest is guaranteed to the fullest while minimizing inconvenience to citizens’ according to local media.
Daegu Queer Culture Festival had provided human rights training to Daegu police following last year’s pride.
The Anti-Homosexuality Christian Solidarity Grouped slammed the police decision as ‘deplorable’.
It said queer festivals ‘run counter to the ethical standards of Korea’.
LGBTI rights in South Korea
Homosexuality is legal in South Korea. But conservative attitudes, especially among Christians, force many LGBTI Koreans to live in the closet.
There is also currently no discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI Koreans. Same-sex marriage is not legal.
In its 2019 world report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said leaders had done little to protect the rights of LGBTI people in South Korea.
The country’s LGBTI movement has triggered a conservative backlash, HRW warned.
Christian and anti-LGBTI protesters have disrupted pride events across the country in the last year.
The groups pressure authorities to deny permission and violently disrupt activities.
Organizers and witnesses of the Incheon Queer Culture Festival (IQCF) say about 1,000 anti-LGBTI and Christian demonstrators verbally and physically abused attendees of a march in September last year.
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 Busan, it took thousands of police to keep a pride event violence-free.
In Jeju, about 50 demonstrators held placards, grabbed LGBTI attendees, and lay down on the street to prevent the pride march, according to attendees.