'First' as PM set to join Pride
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'First' as PM set to join Pride

Governor says nation to keep its guard up

Crowd members display the rainbow flag during 'Bangkok Pride Parade 2023'. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Crowd members display the rainbow flag during 'Bangkok Pride Parade 2023'. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin confirmed his participation in Bangkok Pride Festival 2024, marking the first time the country's premier has joined the parade, despite security concerns after a warning was issued by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security.

The two organisations issued a joint release on May 10 warning that foreign terrorist organisations (FTOs) could target events during LGBTQ Pride Month.

The release did not refer to a specific city or particular Pride event that was of heightened concern as a potential target.

"FTOs or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month," noted the release.

"FTO efforts to commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride celebrations or LGBTQIA+ related venues, are compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the US and other Western countries."

The release added: "FTOs and their supporters have previously promoted anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and targeted LGBTQIA+ related events or venues for attacks."

Last June, three alleged ISIS sympathisers were arrested for attempting to attack a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria.

The release noted that an attacker might also attempt to gain access to restricted areas, bypass security, or impersonate law enforcement officials, or make violent threats online, in person or via mail.

"The concern might not be concentrated in this region, but Thailand will keep its guard up over security," said Bangkok deputy governor Sanon Wangsrangboon on Monday.

He said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be coordinating with the Metropolitan Police Bureau of the Royal Thai Police on securing Pride month activities.

"We are in talks over security issues with the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and we will have a general meeting again on May 27. Moreover, we will discuss the issue with the national security agencies," Mr Sanon said.

Mr Sanon said the BMA and security agencies have experience in securing large events such as the Songkran festival and last year's Pride parade.

Waddao Chumaporn, president and founder of Narumit Pride, the organiser of "Bangkok Pride Festival 2024", said the Bangkok Pride Parade 2024 will be organised under the concept of "Celebration of Love, Celebrating Marriage Equality".

The Pride Parade, considered one of the highlights of the event, will take place on Rama I Road, from the National Stadium to CentralWorld.

Over 200,000 people are expected to participate in Bangkok Pride this year, comprising both Thais and visitors from around the world.

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