Qatar World Cup May Allow Rainbow Flags, Political Protests

(Bloomberg) — Spectators at the upcoming Qatar World Cup could be allowed to stage peaceful protests, promote LGBTQ rights and even kiss in public.

A presentation created by FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 — an organizational body behind the latest tournament — detailed policing procedures that guide security officials to exercise “less intervention, more mediation” and practice “leniency towards behaviors that do not threaten physical integrity or property.”

Specifically, police officers are not to approach, detain or prosecute people displaying rainbow flags — a globally recognized symbol of LGBTQ pride — or disrupt fans marching and chanting in the streets. The presentation, seen by Bloomberg, also instructs security forces to leave protesters alone unless they create a “security issue.”

The guidelines could still change before the World Cup begins on Nov. 20. But if implemented they would mark a shift in policy for Qatar, which has faced criticism from activists, players, and foreign government officials about its record on policies that limit rights of women and LGBTQ people. The government has previously pledged it will welcome visitors of all sexual orientations, as long as they abide by a general rule against displays of public affection that also applies to heterosexual couples.

Several organizations are responsible for organizing the World Cup, including FIFA, Qatari security and logistic committees, as well as the government. The presentation describes the guide