Dozens of people were arrested in central Istanbul after city authorities banned Pride. The organizers reported it. Turkey’s largest city has been banning Pride since 2015, but a large crowd still gathers each year to celebrate the end of Pride Month. The organizers called the ban illegal. «We do not give up, we are not afraid! We will continue our activities in safe places and online, ”the LGBTI + Pride Week Committee in Istanbul said on Twitter. Kaos GL, a major LGBTQ group, said police arrested 52 people while the Pride Week Committee later spoke of more than 100 arrested. Authorities did not report the number of arrests.
Pictures posted on social media show people being searched and loaded onto buses, including at least one photographer. The journalists’ union Disk Basin-Is said “many” were beaten by the police. Local residents slammed pots and pans out of windows and balconies in support of protesters as a police helicopter circled above them. Metal fences and lines of riot officers lined the streets around Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue in the Beyoglu district, the heart of the city’s shopping and tourism sectors, as well as a traditional meeting place for protesters. Metro services around Taksim Square were closed for hours before the march.
Turkey was previously one of the few Muslim-majority countries to allow Pride marches. The first was held in 2003, the year after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party came to power. In recent years, the government has taken a harsh approach to public events that do not represent its religiously conservative views. Pride marches have been marked in recent years by a large number of arrests and the use of tear gas and plastic bullets by the police.