Turkey: Istanbul’s banned Pride Parade leads to arrests

Turkey: Istanbul's banned Pride Parade leads to arrests
Turkey: Istanbul's banned Pride Parade leads to arrests

Turkish police raided the Pride Parade in Istanbul, detaining at least 15 people for participating in a banned LGBTQ+ rally.

Several hundred people briefly took part in a banned LGBTQ+ Pride Parade in Istanbul on Sunday, with Turkish police detaining some of the participants.

Waving rainbow flags and chanting various slogans, the demonstrators managed to march for about 10 minutes along Bagdad Avenue, a major artery on the Asian side of Turkey’s most populous city, before dispersing after police intervention. 

Meanwhile, on the European side of Istanbul, police cordoned off Taksim Square, a traditional gathering place for protests. A representative of the rally organizers read a statement saying: “We never get tired of deceiving the police and forcing them to deal with us.”

“You have closed all the streets and squares, you have stopped the life of a whole city, but you have forgotten that we will pierce the stone and find each other if necessary,” the statement said.

Turkish police detained at least 15 protesters after searching the streets when they arrived at the scene after participants dispersed, a Reuters witness said.

Entry to Taksim Square has been cordoned off amid a ban on the Pride march

Pride Parade banned in Istanbul

The governor of Istanbul had earlier banned the LGBTQ+ community from holding a Pride Parade, without giving any reasons for his move except to say that “illegal groups” were wanting to hold a protest march without authorization.

The governor’s office said the area around the central Taksim Square had been sealed off to traffic and that pedestrian traffic was being monitored.

At last year’s parade, which was held despite being banned, several arrests were made.

LGBTQ+ people in Turkey have been a regular target of scorn for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has depicted them as posing a threat to family values. But homosexuality is not illegal in the country.

Pride Parades, which are held around the world, often on the last Sunday in June, aim to draw attention to LGBTQ+ rights.

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