Citing threats from Christian groups who last year physically blockaded the Seoul Pride parade, last week the Seoul police denied a permit for what would be South Korea’s 16th annual such event. The Korea Queer Cultural Festival kicked off this week anyway, but not without a rabble of Christian protesters who were watched over by about 1000 cops. Via the Korea Times:
The festival’s opening ceremony took place at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall on Tuesday. Almost 150 people participated in the ceremony, including international guests. Demonstrators arrived at the venue 12 hours earlier on Tuesday to surround the venue, calling on sexual minorities to repent for their “sins” and to cancel the festival. They also criticized the Seoul Metropolitan Government for granting festival organizers use of the venue for the opening. The ceremony went off peacefully. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency dispatched almost 1,000 riot police as a precaution. There could still be trouble as several events are scheduled until June 28, the last day of the festival. A private party is scheduled for June 13 in Itaewon, followed by a prayer session for sexual minorities at a Seoul temple on June 17, film screenings on June 18-21 and a symposium on same-sex marriage at the National Assembly on June 20.
Buzzfeed has posted some of the protesters’ signs, one of which read, “Gays out: Homosexuals have no civil rights.”