Turkish police fire tear gas at crowds gathered for banned Istanbul Pride march

Authorities deem LGBT+ community “societally objectionable”, says Amnesty International

Jane Dalton
Monday 01 July 2019 11:22 BST
LGBT campaigners gathered in Istanbul before being dispersed by tear gas
LGBT campaigners gathered in Istanbul before being dispersed by tear gas

Police in Turkey used tear gas to break up a banned Pride rally calling for rights for gay and transgender people.

Several hundred activists had gathered in Istanbul, cheering and waved rainbow flags, intending to march through the streets from the central Taksim district.

Turkish authorities had banned the event for the fifth year running, even though Amnesty International had urged them to lift the “arbitrary ban”.

Police with dogs allowed rally leaders to make a short statement to the media before officers dispersed the crowd with tear gas, blocking the street.

Istanbul Pride organisers said they would continue to fight to get sexual orientation and gender identity recognised in Turkish laws.

Amnesty said the authorities had rejected all suggested locations for the rally by deeming the LGBT+ community “societally objectionable”.

In 2014, up to 100,000 people attended a Pride march in Istanbul, but police have tried to block the events since.

In 2015, police water cannon reportedly created a rainbow effect.

Although homosexuality has been legal in Turkey for decades, rights groups say discrimination is widespread.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the new mayor of Istanbul, said on Friday that any group should be free to demonstrate as long as protests do not disturb the peace.

Additional reporting by agencies

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in