ANKARA — (12-01-19) — A Turkish judge has ruled that the cases against LGBT pride marchers can go forward, rejecting their calls to throw out the trial of 19 people.

Turkish authorities arrested 19 people for participating in an LGBT+ Pride march on a university campus back on May 10 which consisted of both students and faculty from the Middle East Technical University (METU).

They were charged with “refusing to disperse” after being arrested at a May 10 Pride march by police using pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas.

The trial highlights ongoing discrimination on LGBTQ events in Turkey. After a 2016 coup attempt, local governments were given the power to ban public gatherings, which authorities across the country have used to outlaw Pride marches.

Oyku Didem Aydin demanded immediate acquittal of all 19 LGBT defendants

“The images in the indictment only show students using their basic rights and freedoms,” Aydin told the court. “There’s no resistance to police. The defendants are on trial for freedom of expression, for their freedom of assembly. No one should face such a thing.” said Aydin.

The judge refused to dismiss the charges against the 19 defendants and adjourned the case until March 12 2020.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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