More than 1,000 queer people turn out for Hong Kong Pride rally after police banned parade amidst violence across the city
More than a thousand LGBT+ people attended a Pride rally in Hong Kong after police banned the annual march amidst violent protests in the city.
The carnival-style rally with the theme “Equal Justice, Equal Rights” took place on Saturday, November 16, at Edinburgh Place in central Hong Kong.
Organisers were informed just 48 hours before the event that police in the city had banned the parade and would instead only allow a stand-still gathering.
The police cited disruption in other areas amidst violent protests against the now withdrawn 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill as the cause of the ban.
The march has been running since 2008, and has never before faced a ban by police because it is known for being peaceful and inclusive. The only time the march has not taken place since its inception was in 2010 because of a lack of resources.
Solid attendance for the Hong Kong Pride Parade in Edinburgh Place. A celebratory atmosphere, despite the march having been banned. An MC over the loudspeaker emphasizes the continuing human rights struggle faced by the LGBT movement. #StandWithHongKong #HKPride pic.twitter.com/PrxuRw3WSX
— Ataraxis (@ataraxisfinch) November 16, 2019
The government also imposed a mask ban to deter violent protesters, which organisers feared would stop many attending as LGBT+ people who have not come out to their family and friends often wear masks to the Pride event to protect their identities.
However many LGBT+ people attending the rally wore masks anyway in defiance of the ban and in solidarity with anti-government protesters.
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Mo, a LGBT+ student who chose to wear a mask to the rally, told South China Morning Post: “Every year, the Pride parade is held. Police had only rejected this year’s march two days before despite an application being filed much earlier … I believe when there is no police presence, everything will be peaceful.”
#HK Pride Parade today. 10th year of parade in #Hongkong. Past 9 years, parade route commenced at #VictoriaPark #CausewayBay & proceed to Edinburgh Place as final point. This year,#PoliceHK only permitted to stay at #EdinburghPlace #CentralHk. #BeRainbow #StandwithLGBTHongKong pic.twitter.com/LqGLlVVObg
— Truth Live Hong Kong (@HongTruth) November 16, 2019
The Hong Kong newspaper also reported that diplomats from seven consulates showed up for the rally, despite organisers’ fears that the last-minute ban on the parade might prevent them from attending.
Hong Kong’s only openly gay lawmaker, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, also went to the event.
When the parade was first banned, he said that a Pride march has nothing to do with the current political unrest and added: “Does that mean the city will no longer have any marches now?”