Beirut Pride 💪 Cancelled ❌ After Organiser Detained

  |   World News

The organiser of a gay pride week in Lebanon says authorities have forced him to cancel the remaining events. Last year, Lebanon became the first Arab country to hold a gay pride week.

But the organiser of this year's Beirut Pride, Hadi Damien, said he was taken to a police station overnight after security services came to an event. Mr Damien said he was asked to sign a pledge that he would cancel what was left of the week - which started on Saturday - in order to be released. Lebanon is more tolerant than most Arab countries, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people do still face sporadic police action.

The second Beirut Pride festival began with brunch celebrating parents who had not rejected their children when they came out as homosexuals, and was due to include cultural events, talks and readings over the next nine days.

But on Monday night, Mr Damien was called by a venue and told that agents from the General Security directorate had stopped a reading of the script of a play about homophobic crimes, saying the event required approval from its bureau of censorship, according to a statement on the Beirut Pride website.

After arriving at the venue, Mr Damien was asked by "vice police" officers to accompany him to Hbeich police station, where he was informed that he would be detained overnight.

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