Lebanon's gay pride week brought to halt after crackdown

Activists attend anti-homophobia rally in Beirut. Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP.

BEIRUT (AP) — The organizer of Lebanon's beleaguered gay pride week has been briefly detained days into the celebrations and the rest of the festival's events canceled.

Hadi Damien told The Associated Press Tuesday that he was held overnight over Beirut Pride week, which began Sunday, allegedly following complaints from critics.

Damien's lawyer, Layal Saqr, said her client was interrogated over allegedly encouraging debauchery and offending public decency.

Damien was released after signing a pledge to call off the rest of the week's events, which included a street party and poetry readings.

Saqr said the detention sent "a warning."

Lebanon became the first Arab country to celebrate gay pride last year. Some events were also canceled last year but no one was arrested.

Homosexuality is still punishable by law in Lebanon.

Copyright Associated Press, all rights reserved.

The Gayly. May 15, 2018. 11:37 a.m. CST.