Shortly before the Pride Parade, the authorities in Istanbul banned the demonstration. Hundreds came anyway – and were driven away with tear gas and plastic bullets.
Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul for the Pride Parade – despite the ban on demonstrations and the massive police presence. This used tear gas against the people who ran on a demo train through the European center of the city on Saturday.
Plastic bullets were also reportedly fired into the crowd. According to the organizers, several people were arrested. Various associations called for the parade under the motto “The street is ours”.
The participants protested against an increasingly hostile climate in the country for members of the LGBTQI + community. LGBTQI + stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, inter and queer people and the plus sign as a placeholder for other identities.
“State has declared war on LGBTQI + people”
Barriers were set up around the venue the day before, and the demonstration was prohibited by the district government a few hours before the planned start. The order was issued on the basis of the Demonstration Act, which allows bans for violating morality.
“In Turkey we have been confronted with a radical change in government policy towards LGBTQI + people since 2015. The state has declared war on LGBTQI + people, so to speak,” said Yildiz Tar from the Kaos GL organization. The government is pursuing a policy aimed at “spreading hostility towards LGBTQI +” among the people. Hate crimes are not punished and are increasing steadily. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly verbally attacked LGBTQI + in the past.
At the beginning of the week, a picnic was also prohibited in Istanbul on the occasion of so-called Pride Week. According to several reports, the police confiscated rainbow colored paraphernalia. Last year, the Ministry of Commerce ordered products with rainbow flags and other symbols of sexual and gender diversity to be labeled as unsuitable for people under the age of 18.