Indonesian gay film festival disrupted by protests

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Indonesia’s annual gay film festival was disrupted by angry protesters in Jakarta this week.

The festival, called Q!, showcases films about HIV/AIDS, LGBT issues and human rights at a range of venues around the city.

It was the subject of demonstrations by hardline Islamists, who demanded that screenings were cancelled. Some protesters reportedly threatened to burn down a venue if films were shown there.

A number of events were subsequently cancelled, while organisers moved others to different venues.

The festival has been running for nine years, although this is the first time in recent years that it has been attacked.

The group leading the protests was the Islamic Defenders Front, while a small group of student protesters from the University of Indonesia held demonstrations.

Q! ends this evening and festival co-founder and director John Badalu said organisers would run events to schedule. “We’re still going to go on,” he said.

He told the Jakarta Post that increased media coverage may have sparked this year’s protests.

Local police said they would step in if demonstrators became violence.