Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

South Korean Court Rules Police Cannot Ban LGBT Pride March

The march scheduled for June 28 had been barred following a showdown with religious conservative activists.

Posted on June 16, 2015, at 1:17 p.m. ET

Simon Williams-Im / Via flickr.com

Protestors at the opening of the Korean Queer Cultural Festival, June 9, 2015.

A court in the South Korean capital Seoul ruled Tuesday that police violated the law when they banned a pride march to be held June 28 as the culmination of the Korean Queer Cultural Festival, according to a press release from organizers.

Police had denied permits to hold the march, citing conflicting applications for events that overlapped the parade route. These applications were filed as the result of a showdown between Christian conservative activists and LGBT activists, who had both camped out in front of the police station processing applications for more than a week in May. The conservatives managed to get their public use applications in first.

On Tuesday, the court ruled this violated the LGBT activists' right to protest.

"Unless there is a clear risk of danger to the public, preventing the demonstration is not allowed and should be the absolute last resort," the court ruled, according to a local news report.

Queer Cultural Festival's Chairman Myeong Jin Kang praised the ruling in the group's press release.

"This court's decision in relation to the police's unjust notice prohibiting assembly is important," he said. "Within a democratic country, built on civil society, the guarantee that society can use their voice has a deep meaning."

Last year's march was disrupted when anti-LGBT activists lay down in the street in front of parade floats. Police also attempted to shut down the event by trying to revoke the march permits saying it was inappropriate to hold the event in light of the Sewol ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people two months earlier. But the march was ultimately held peacefully.

Organizers have projected more than 20,000 people will participate in the march, and the march's opponents are likely to attempt to disrupt the event once more. When the Queer Cultural Festival opened on June 9, participants were outnumbered by protestors holding signs with slogans like "Stop Same-Sex Marriage" and "Gays Out: Homosexuals have no human rights."

Many protestors held smaller signs that simply said, "Come back — We'll be waiting."

The incident that killed more than 300 people in 2014 was the Sewol ferry disaster. A previous version of this story gave the incorrect name.

ADVERTISEMENT