Seoul court overturns police ban; Pride Parade will go ahead as planned

After a long battle with Seoul Metropolitan Police, the Korean Queer Culture Festival have finally won the right to stage the Korean LGBT Pride Parade on the 28th of June.

The police force had earlier disallowed the parade from going ahead on the grounds that it was a threat to public order. The organisers of the parade took to Seoul Administrative Courts arguing this argument to be invalid at the start of June and today Judge Jeongwoo Ban sided with them overturning the ban.

The court argued that although there are cases where public assembly can be prohibited on grounds of a direct threat to public safety, freedom of assembly should be prioritised and it should only be done if every other option to ensure public peace and order had been exhausted.

Unsurprisingly the organisers are hailing this decision.

Here is the official statement of the KQCF:

 

Myeongjin Kang, the chief of KQCF OC, said, “The decision of the court this time is significant considering that the police unfairly banned the outdoor rally.” He also added, “This also means that it should be guaranteed for sexual minorities to speak up toward society as a member of civil society in democratic country.”

In the decision of the court, KQCF consultative body for action, which is consisted of overall 112 organizations with human rights, civil society, religion, and political party, said, “We welcome the meaningful decision of the court for peaceful march. We will make every effort for participants who will join this safe and peaceful parade together.”

The parade will now go ahead as originally planned but there may still be interference from anti-LGBT groups. Recently a picture went viral on Facebook of a letter being handed out to foreigners outside Seoul Plaza denouncing the ‘homosexual party’ and seemingly supporting Uganda’s efforts to imprison gay people for life.

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The was also a sizeable protest during the KQCF opening ceremony (photos of which can be seen here).

Nonetheless, given that the parade went ahead last year despite protesters trying to forcibly block the route by lying on the ground, no doubt participants will overcome any further hurdles to hold a successful Seoul Queer Pride Parade.