Johannesburg LGBT+ Pride marches on despite U.S. terrorism warning

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Johannesburg LGBT+ Pride marches on despite U.S. terrorism warning

Thousands Celebrate Pride

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 29 (Reuters) – On Saturday, thousands participated in Johannesburg’s first LGBT+ Pride march since the COVID-19 pandemic, undeterred by U.S. warnings of a potential terrorist attack in the area.

Vibrant Display Amidst Heavy Security

Participants sang, cheered, and waved rainbow flags under a substantial police presence. The event concluded without any incidents.

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U.S. Terrorism Alert

Earlier in the week, the U.S. government announced that it had received information suggesting terrorists might plan an attack targeting large gatherings on Saturday in Sandton, the Johannesburg area where the march occurred. Although the advisory recommended avoiding crowds and large public events over the weekend, it did not explicitly identify the Pride march as a target.

Defiance and Resilience

“Someone threatening to kill us is very, very scary, but it’s not the first time and sadly will not be the last,” said Lethuxolo Shange, a 24-year-old doctor participating in the march. “So we’re not going to let people terrorize us.”

Historical Context and Government Response

The Johannesburg Pride march, which began 33 years ago, commemorates South Africa’s progressive stance on LGBT+ rights. South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006 and remains the only African nation to do so.

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that the United States had not thoroughly communicated with South African authorities before issuing the alert. The security services assured they would provide necessary warnings if required.

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