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Security Warnings for Pride Month Events: What to Know

Security Warnings for Pride Month Events: What to Know

This June, as many travelers make plans to attend Pride Month events around the world, including New York City’s giant parade on June 30, security concerns are casting a shadow on celebrations.

A travel advisory issued last week by the State Department advises U.S. citizens overseas to “exercise increased caution” at Pride celebrations, events and places popular with the L.G.B.T.Q. community because of the potential for terrorist attacks or acts of violence.

That advisory follows a joint public service announcement on May 10 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that describes an increased security threat against Pride events in the United States and elsewhere and warns that terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to target the gatherings.

Neither alert mentions any specific threats or locations, nor do they advise against traveling. Here’s what to know.

The State Department is aware, its alert said, of increased potential for violence inspired by foreign terrorist organizations against the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

The F.B.I. and D.H.S. announcement pointed to a February 2023 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. article circulated online in pro-Islamic State circles. The ISIS messaging also encouraged followers to conduct attacks on “soft targets,” typically public places or events that are easily accessible.

Last June, the announcement said, the Austrian authorities foiled a plot to attack attendees at the Pride parade in Vienna with knives and a vehicle, arresting three people accused of being ISIS sympathizers.

The announcement also cited the eighth anniversary, on June 12, of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in which an attacker claiming allegiance to ISIS killed 49 people.

The efforts to inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride, are “compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other Western countries,” the announcement said.

Threats made against L.G.B.T.Q. people by terrorist organizations or their sympathizers are not uncommon.

Terrorist organizations can use such threats as a recruitment tool, allowing them to capitalize on shared prejudices, explained Colin P. Clarke, the director of research at the Soufan Group, a New York-based intelligence and security consulting firm.

“It’s another arrow in the quiver, and it allows groups to cast a wider net,” he wrote in an email….

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