Home News What’s Behind Pride Event Safety Warnings

What’s Behind Pride Event Safety Warnings

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This June, many travelers plan to attend Pride Month events around the world, including in New York City giant parade On June 30, security concerns overshadowed the celebrations.

A travel warning The U.S. State Department issued an advisory last week advising U.S. citizens abroad to “exercise greater caution” at Pride celebrations, events and venues popular with the LGBTQ community due to the possibility of a terrorist attack or act of violence.

The suggestion is as follows Joint Public Service Announcement On May 10, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a report citing an increase in security threats to Pride events in the United States and elsewhere, and warned that terrorist groups or supporters may seek to target the gatherings.

Neither alert mentioned any specific threats or locations, nor did they advise people not to travel. Here’s what to know.

The alert said the U.S. State Department is aware of an increased potential for violence against LGBTQ people by foreign terrorist groups.

The FBI and DHS announcement noted that in February 2023, an anti-LGBTQ article circulated online in pro-Islamic State circles. ISIS messaging also encourages followers to carry out attacks on “soft targets,” which are often easily accessible public places or events.

According to the announcement, in June last year, Austrian authorities foiled Plot to attack Vienna Pride parade attendees Armed with knives and vehicles, three people accused of being ISIS sympathizers were arrested.

The announcement also mentioned June 12 as the company’s eighth anniversary. mass shooting An attacker claiming allegiance to ISIS killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Incitement to violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride, is “compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other Western countries,” the advisory said.

Threats against LGBTQ people from terrorist groups or their sympathizers are not uncommon.

Terrorist groups can exploit shared biases by using such threats as a recruitment tool, explained Colin P. Clark, the organization’s director of research. Soufan Groupis a New York-based intelligence and security consulting firm.

“This is another arrow in the quiver that allows groups to cast a wider net,” he wrote in an email. “Some potential recruits will be driven by sectarianism, others Motivated by anti-Western propaganda, and some by homophobia, so if it resonates, terrorist groups will use it as a form of incitement.”

The State Council maintains Web page While there is information for LGBTQ travelers, there are few global safety alerts for Pride events.

“The State Department’s recent global travel advisory specifically targeting the LGBTQ+ community is unlike anything we have seen before, but it is also consistent with an escalation of anti-LGBTQ+ actions around the world,” wrote State Department President John Tanzella road. IGTAan LGBTQ travel network, in an email.

“The first rule is to follow the advice and guidance of Pride: they know their city, they know their event, and they will work with police to keep you safe,” said Steve Taylor, a member of the organization’s board of directors European Pride Organizers Association and a leader Copenhagen Pridewrote in an email.

“Second, take care of each other,” he added. “Our eyes and ears keep us safe. If something doesn’t look right, speak up. Third, focus on the main events and make sure others know where you’re going.”

In places like New York City, Pride event organizers are working with law enforcement and private security teams and encouraging people to follow their rules Safety guidancewhich includes advice such as setting up a friend system and reporting any suspicious activity.

“There are some bad actors,” said executive director Sandra Perez. new york pridethe organization sponsors the city’s Pride parade, which attracts 75,000 participants and approximately 2 million viewers last year, according to organizers. “We know we can’t let their threats impact our visibility.”

She noted that while people should always take safety seriously, there is also power in the unity of being present and celebrating.

“The reality is that rain sometimes has a bigger impact than some of the other threats,” Ms. Perez said of participating in the march.


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