ADDED ON: 09/29/2019

Beirut Pride organizers cancel opening event after threats

09/26/2019 | Reuters

Organizers of Beirut Pride said they have canceled the event’s opening concert after threats meant they could not guarantee the safety of attendees at Lebanon’s third annual LGBT+ week. Organizer Hadi Damien said a concert planned for Saturday at The Palace theater was axed after the venue received threatening phone calls and posts on social media, as well as pressure from religious institutions. The cancellation comes after death threats prompted a Lebanese festival in July to pull an appearance by one of the Middle East’s most popular bands, Mashrou’ Leila, which has a gay frontman, leading to fears of a crackdown on LGBT+ rights. “Religious authorities and figures started to speak up and ask the authorities … to make sure Pride doesn’t happen any more,” Damien told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. “It went quite crazy … People were threatening the owner of the venue.”

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