Hong Police disrupted this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) rally, threatening to arrest organizers and videoing participants, in what has been described as a serious attack on LGBTI rights and the right to demonstrate in Hong Kong.
The LGBT community in Hong Kong is in uproar and the police have been heavily criticised by legislators after 20 police officers halted the rally that took place in the busy commercial district of Causeway Bay on the afternoon of the 15th May (Sunday). The rally, co-hosted by LGBT organisations in Hong Kong – Amnesty International Hong Kong, Gay Harmony, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting (TCJM) and Transgender Resource Centre, was the 7th annual IDAHO rally in Hong Kong.
With a theme of “Born This Way”, the aim of the rally was to protest against homophobia and draw attention to the need for equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Chairperson of the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Lam Woon-Kwong and legislator Cyd Ho Sau-Lan both attended and spoke at the rally which had been given prior approval by police.
Citing the lack of a ‘Places of Public Entertainment Licence’ 20 police raided the event during a section of the rally when a group of activists calling themselves The Dancing Angels commenced their segment in which they sought to express this year’s theme through dance.
In a shocking display of intimidation and harassment, a uniformed police video unit also filmed the participants who came from all sections of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and intersexual community as well as heterosexual supporters.
Reggie Ho, Chairman of TCJM, said: “ The Hong Kong police unlawfully disrupted this peaceful rally with casual disregard for our rights as LGBTI persons and Hong Kong citizens. We deplore these acts of intimidation and harassment by the police in Hong Kong. We in Hong Kong pride ourselves on respect for the rule of law and this sort of abuse cannot be tolerated.
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