Following local authorities’ decision to once again forbid the march from taking place this year, Turkish police on Sunday prevented hundreds of participants from congregating for Istanbul’s annual Pride parade and detained others.
On Istanbul’s prominent Istiklal Avenue, thousands of people used to participate in Pride marches, but in recent years, the government under President Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party, which has Islamic roots, has taken a harder line on LGBTQ+ freedom.
According to the Istanbul Bar Association, peaceful protests cannot be outlawed.
On Sunday, small groups of people waving rainbow and transgender flags congregated in accessible locations for a brief period of time and chanted before being scattered and pursued by police, who forcibly detained several of them.
While several other groups delivered messages to commemorate Pride week, one group chanted, ‘Discrimination is a crime, the rainbow is not.’
Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, last year called certain college students ‘LGBT deviants,’ but Erdogan applauded his party’s youth wing for not being comprised of ‘LGBT youth.’