Hundreds Arrests in Istanbul: Police Attack Pride March

Hundreds arrested in Istanbul
Police crack down on Pride March

Despite the ban, many people took to the streets in Istanbul to take part in the Pride Parade. Even before the event begins, the police are arresting people at random in nearby bars, and journalists are prevented from doing their work.

According to the organizers, Turkish police arrested more than 200 participants in an officially banned pride parade in Istanbul on Sunday. A team from the news agency reported that in addition to the activists, among those arrested were AFP photographer Bulent Kılıç and other journalists. The Istanbul governor banned the Pride March.

However, hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags gathered in the streets around Taksim Square, which was closed to the public. They defied the police and walked the streets of Cihangir for about an hour. “The future is freaky!” they shouted. And you’re not alone!”

Before the show started, the police made random arrests of people, including journalists, in several bars in Cihangir. According to a number of eyewitnesses, the police tried to prevent journalists from filming the arrests. AFP photographer Kilic was arrested in the same circumstances last year. The Turkish authorities apparently criticized the arrest of AFP photojournalist Bulent Kilic “apparently” on Twitter, the organization Reporters Without Borders. Reporters Without Borders spokesman Erol Ondironglu accused the authorities of continuing “violent acts and arbitrary arrests” of journalists.

The number of participants in the Pride March 2014 reached 100,000

“Anyone arrested simply for participating in the Pride Parade should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Melina Bouyom of Amnesty International. Since the beginning of the evening, the first detainee has been released. According to his lawyer, Kilic was released.

After an exciting pride parade in Istanbul in 2014 with more than 100,000 participants, the Turkish authorities have repeatedly banned the event in recent years, officially for security reasons. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, called on the Turkish authorities on Friday to allow the parade to take place. “The human rights of LGBT people in Turkey must be effectively protected,” she said.

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