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Pride parade to take to Euljiro streets after Seoul Plaza refusal

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : June 7, 2023 - 15:33

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The head of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival organizing committee, Yang Sun-woo, speaks at the press conference held at Jongno-gu, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap) The head of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival organizing committee, Yang Sun-woo, speaks at the press conference held at Jongno-gu, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The annual Seoul Queer Culture Festival parade this year, which had struggled to secure a venue due to the city's refusal of its request to use Seoul Plaza, will be held on July 1 starting in Euljiro 2-ga, Seoul, the organizing committee said Wednesday.

The organizing committee expects more than 50,000 people to participate in the parade alone and 150,000 in all festival events. The parade starts from Euljiro but the route will include Seoul Plaza, they said.

“The meaning of the Pride parade is that sexual minorities will no longer hide their existence, so we chose to march through Seoul Plaza and other major roads," Kim Ga-hee, an official from organizing committee said during a press conference.

Euljiro 2-ga was chosen to ensure the safety of participants and protect them from hatred toward sexual minorities.

The organizers also stressed that they are in talks with the police to prepare for possible conflict with hostile groups.

Earlier, other than the SQCF, the Christian organization CTS Cultural Foundation applied for the use of the Seoul Plaza from June 30 to July 1, and the Seoul City accepted the request of the CTS Foundation.

The organizing committee then reported the rally to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency at Namdaemun and Jongno Police Station on June 1 and secured the new venue. In order to report the event before other groups could block it, 64 citizens waited outside police stations on rotation for 89 hours, calling it a "rainbow relay."

The annual queer festival has been held at Seoul Plaza every year since 2015, except for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's SQCF will be held from June 22 to July 9, with diverse events such as parade and online, offline queer film festivals.