In one of the more bizarre police conflict stories of late, over a hundred gay men congregated at People’s Park in Guangzhou this week to protest police efforts to keep homosexuals out of the park. The police have used reports of petty crimes such as robbery and stealing to keep homosexuals out of the park, which serves as a meeting place for gay people. Protesters verbally clashed with the police after park guards attempted to force the group to leave the premises, and several protesters and volunteers were detained and questioned before the protest began.
Ah Qiang, a spokesman from a Guangzhou-based gay organization, surmised that such issues would only get worse in the city’s preparation for the 2010 Asian games. Shamefully, the efforts seem to be keeping people away: “Police should protect us from being victims of such crimes, instead of pushing us away,” said Ah. Perhaps the LGBT community in Guangdong could take a lesson from Shanghai’s gay english corner, which seems to be getting along without police interference. And it’s educational, too!