Turkish activists have defied a ban to stage an annual gay pride march in Istanbul a month after Turkey’s election followed a homophobic and hate-filled campaign.
A few hundred demonstrators waving rainbow flags held rallies including in Istanbul’s upmarket Nişantaşı neighborhood after being banned from Taksim Square – the venue of 2013 anti-government protests.
Turkey’s LGBTQ+ community fears more pressure after the conservative president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won the May vote to extend his rule until 2028.
This year’s pride march started and finished earlier than expected without any street clashes or police violence, according to AFP journalists on the ground.
More than 40 activists were detained, according to protesting groups.
Police heightened security in and around Taksim Square.
Erol Önderoğlu of Reporters Without Borders, criticised the police blockade of journalists at almost every social event around the square. “The reality is that journalists’ rights are violated arbitrarily,” he tweeted.
Erdoğan accused Turkey’s main opposition party CHP and its allies of being pro-LGBTQ+ before and after the elections, promising his supporters that the LGBTQ+ community will never enter his Islamic-rooted party.
“By ramping up anti-LGBTI rhetoric, the government has helped whip up prejudice, emboldening anti-LGBTI groups in Turkey, some of which have called for violence against LGBTI communities,” Amnesty International Europe director, Nils Muižnieks, warned on Friday.
Source : The Guardian