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USA warns of global threats to LGBTIQA+ gatherings during June

A warning has been sounded by the FBI and United States Department of Homeland Security, calling on Americans to be aware of an increased security threat at Pride events and LGBTIQA+ venues and gatherings.

Local authorities however say there is no change to warnings within Australia where the threat rate of a terrorist attack remains “possible”.

Possible is second lowest of five ratings that can be applied, ranging from ‘not expected’ to ‘probable’, ‘expected’ and ‘certain’.

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A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said the the safety of the Australian community is paramount and they strongly condemn anyone who incites violence or hatred within the community.

“There is no place in Australia for prejudice and hatred of any kind.” they said. “The Australian Government has full confidence in our law enforcement agencies and their ability to protect Australians from threats to community safety.”

June is Pride month in the USA as they mark the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots which are credited as being an accelerator moment for the LGBTIQA+ rights movement.

The date is also used for Pride celebrations in many European countries, and quite a few local Pride celebrations. Although most of Australia’s major LGBTIQA+ celebrations such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Midsumma and PrideFEST occur during the Australian summer.

In joint statement the FBI and United States Department of Homeland Security said foreign terrorist organisations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month.

They note that aside form Stonewall several tragic events have happened during the US Pride month in recent years including the massacre at The Pulse nightclub in Florida where a gunman killed 49 and wounded 53 people. They note that terrorist organisations praised the attack.

They also draw attention to an incident June 2023, three alleged ISIS sympathizers were arrested for attempting to attack a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria, using knives and a vehicle as part of the attack.

They suggest people should be on the lookout for;

  • Violent threats made online, in person, or via mail.
  • Unusual or prolonged testing or probing of security measures at events or venues.
  • Photography of security related equipment, personnel, or access points consistent with pre-operational surveillance without a reasonable alternative explanation.
  • Unusual surveillance or interest in buildings, gatherings, or events.
  • Attempts to gain access to restricted areas, bypass security, or impersonate law enforcement officials.
  • Observation of or questions about facility security measures, including barriers, restricted areas, cameras, and intrusion detection systems without a reasonable alternative explanation.
  • Eliciting information from facility personnel regarding the nature of upcoming events, crowd sizes, busiest times of day, etc. without a reasonable alternative explanation.
  • Attempts to enter a restricted area, bypass security, or impersonate law enforcement officials.

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