44 people detained during Istanbul's banned LGBT pride event

Danny Woods
June 27, 2017

Large crowds turned out for Pride marches on Sunday in New York City and San Francisco, the two USA places most associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement, with the East Coast city bringing a more political flavor to the event sparked by events there nearly 50 years ago.

While homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, Istanbul's governor's office said today's Trans Parade March parade should not go ahead to protect participants, tourists and public order.

Lara Guney Ozlen, a spokesperson for Pride Week, said police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on the LGBT activists amassing near the popular shopping street and its side roads.

Ultranationalist and religious groups had threatened the 15th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March in the week leading up to it.

Know what to do with your Thrift Savings Plan the next time the stock market crashes? Istanbul's Pride organizers said at least 20 people were arrested.

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".

The Turkish government says there is no discrimination against LGBT individuals and that current laws already protect each citizen.

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Organizers of the 2017 Istanbul LGBTI Pride said Sunday the gathering would begin at 5 p.m. (14:00 GMT) in central Taksim Square, using a Turkish hashtag for "we march".

"We will not allow this march which calls itself a pride march but in reality is normalizing and encouraging immorality and tawdryness that touches the nerves of society", the statement said. Police also used tear gas and plastic bullets on groups of participants.

At the jam-packed New York City parade, a few attendees wore "Make America Gay Again" hats, while one group walking silently in the parade wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts as they held up signs with a fist and with a rainbow background, a symbol for gay pride. 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.

"Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week" has been organized since 1993, and the ban is a violation of the "freedom of expression that has been put under protection by both the constitution and worldwide treaties", the statement continued.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the first openly gay person to hold that job, joined the parade with his husband, Michael Shiosaki.

Sunday's scheduled march was on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of a month of fasting.

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