Istanbul Pride march to go on despite governor's ban

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 27, 2017

Chief Saunders announced in February that the Toronto police would not be participating in Pride events this year.

(AP Photo/Neyran Elden). In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 photo, Seyhan Arman, 37, a Turkish transgender woman who makes a living writing and performing, prepares for her solo performance in Istanbul's Pride Week. New York's first Pride march started close by a year later.

Turkish police fired rubber bullets at Istanbul Pride marchers who defied the city's ban on the parade.

Riot police, armed with shields and helmets, used their bodies to seal streets the organizers were predicted to use, while officers with dogs chased activists who dared unfurl flags.

AFP reported that authorities were firing rubber bullets and ITV said that tear gas was also released on peaceful marchers.

Police barricades, riot-control vehicles and buses were dispatched to the area Sunday afternoon and a helicopter buzzed overhead.

Turkey's official news agency says 44 people were detained during a march for LGBT rights that the governor of Istanbul had banned. Among those detained was also Bram Janssen, a photojournalist for the Associated Press, despite holding a press card but not carrying his passport with him.

The ban was imposed by the provincial governor for the third year in a row, citing threats from ultranationalists.

The event's organizers vowed to move forward with their celebrations earlier on Sunday, saying in a statement, as quoted by the BBC: "We are not scared, we are here, we will not change".

"We are not scared, we are here, we will not change", they said in a statement on Sunday.

However, at least a hundred activists held a protest in the nearby Cihangir neighbourhood, reports ITV News.

Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey throughout the period of the modern republic but gay people in Turkey regularly complain of harassment and abuse. There's no hate filled message that this Administration can put out there that's going to take that away from us so we'll resist, we'll fight back - we have before.

Meanwhile, pride march organizers have taken steps to address the criticisms about diversity.

On June 25, the Dutch consulate in Istanbul unfurled a large rainbow flag in support of the Pride event.

According to Breaking News, police used tear gas to disperse crowds.

Last year, with the city on edge after bombings blamed on the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants, organisers were denied permission to march.

"The pride celebration is a platform for that dialogue to happen", San Francisco Pride board president Michelle Meow said this week.

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