Seoul Pride parade ban overturned
A South Korean court has ruled that police cannot ban the Pride parade from marching in the capital.
The Korea Queer Culture Festival, which has been celebrated annually for fifteen years, has been dogged by protests from conservative Christian groups – many believe this led to the parade being banned.
Last year, protesters disrupted the parade by lying down in front of floats and chanting “gays have no place in this country”.
Activists had vowed to defy the ban, saying “The police should protect the rights of free expression, rather than siding with those trying to suppress it.”
Police had cited public safety and traffic concerns, but the Seoul Administrative Court ruled that “Assemblies can be prohibited only when they directly threaten public order.”
Organiser Kang Myeong Jin told AFP: “We welcome the decision. The court has sent a message to the public that sexual minorities should also be guaranteed rights to speech as a member of a democratic society.”
Last year the mayor of Seoul said he hoped South Korea would be the first Asian nation to introduce equal marriage.
In April this year, teachers in South Korea were banned from discussing LGBT issues.