After Indonesian authorities last week canceled Saturday’s International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association’s annual conference — because they supposedly feared they couldn’t tame public outrage over a bunch of international queers descending upon the city of Surabaya — attendees who already traveled there in anticipation of the conference stayed in their hotel rooms awaiting outbound flights. Then some Islamic groups took it upon themselves to harass these folks.
“Local media reported a spokesman for the groups saying they wanted to be sure the participants did not go ahead with the conference, despite organisers announcing to the public it had been cancelled,” relays Radio Australia. “Usman Hamid [of human rights group KONTRAS] says it is the first time he can recall a gay and lesbian conference banned by the authorities in Indonesia, and he says it sets a dangerous precedent.”
Indeed: “Members of hard-line Islamic groups forced their way into a Surabaya hotel Friday, demanding participants of a planned congress on sexual orientation in the East Java city to leave the country by Sunday. The police took no action against the move, condemned by politicians and activists as ‘unconstitutional’ and violating human rights, who said the conference should be seen as ‘a celebration of democracy and human rights.’