Over 150,000 South Koreans march for Pride in banned event

The LGBTQ+ community marked the 25th year of Pride parades in the country. (Getty)

Over 150,000 LGBTQ+ people and their allies have marched for the Pride in South Korea 2024 parade, despite the event being banned by authorities for a second year in a row.

While more than 35 countries have legalised same-sex marriage, including Thailand moving closer to approving the bill, South Korea has yet to legalise same-sex marriage or civil unions for its LGBTQ+ citizens.

But on 1 June, the queer community and its supporters gathered in Seoul for the 25th anniversary of the country’s Pride Parade in 2024. 

Authorities previously denied Pride parade organisers permission to gather at the Seoul Plaza in front of the City Hall, where the city’s annual festivities are traditionally held. The city’s authorities cited a scheduling conflict with an outdoor book event, according to reports.

Thousands of LGBTQ South Koreans and their supporters attended the annual Pride Parade in Seoul. (Anthony WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Although the activists did not have the backing of Seoul’s mayor Oh Se-hoon, who said he “personally can’t agree with homosexuality”, this didn’t stop the hundreds of thousands of people from gathering in the streets of the capital. 

Seoul’s major roads, including Namdaemun-ro and Ujeongguk-ro, were full to the brim with rainbow-donning attendees, with some waving orange balloons to mark this year’s theme.

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“The colour range symbolizes an intermediary quality between red and yellow. It doesn’t belong anywhere but exists independently, … akin to our queer way of being,” parade organisers said in a statement.

The theme of the Pride parade was orange this year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Organisations including the US embassy, IKEA, and Amnesty International even participated to pledge their support for the queer community.

Pride organisers alleged that three other venues managed by the Seoul city government, including the Seoul Museum of History were also banned from hosting the event to prevent “causing social conflict”. 

Just streets away from the Pride parade, Christian protesters rejected LGBTQ+ rights by holding signs which read: “No!! Same-sex Marriage” and “The country built with blood and sweat is collapsing due to homosexuality”. 

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