Detentions as police break up Istanbul Pride parade

Detentions as police break up Istanbul Pride parade

Turkish police on Sunday prevented an attempt by Gay Pride activists to hold a parade in Istanbul, the country's largest city, in defiance of an official ban by the local authorities.

Some 44 people were detained on June 25 after staging the Pride march despite a ban on June 24 by the Istanbul Governor's Office, which cited security concerns.

The police officers also barred people from entering Istiklal Avenue and turned back all those thought to be linked to the banned event.

Small groups began to gather in the city's Taksim Square ahead of the 5 p.m. march, but they were said to be heavily outnumbered by police. Some were chased by officers.

Lara Guney Ozlen, a spokesperson for Pride Week, said police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on the LGBT activists amassing near the popular shopping street and its side roads.

But in 2015, police dispersed crowds using tear gas and water cannons after a last-minute ban.

Thousands took part in previous Istanbul pride marches, which were among the most significant LGBT events in the mainly-Muslim region.




Police barricades, riot-control vehicles and buses were dispatched to the area where activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights say they plan to launch a pride march that the governor banned.

So, I don't think that I have changed things for you; I think people like you have changed things for me. "Isn't it great the New York Pride parade can be exclusive and includes us but that we can't even do that in our own city?" he asked. Ultranationalist and religious groups had threatened the 15th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March in the week leading up to it.

"Our security will be provided by recognizing us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom", the organizers said prior to the march in response to the cancellation, as quoted by the Associated Press.

This year, the parade coincided with the first day of Eid, the festival marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

In 2016, the march was banned by the Governor's Office as Turkey saw attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Critics accuse President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of having steered Turkey towards creeping Islamization.

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