ISTANBUL, TR — (07-01-24) — Turkish police made headlines over the weekend after arresting 15 people while shutting down a previously banned LGBT pride parade. The annual June Pride parade takes place in cities across the globe but rarely in predominantly Islamic countries such as Turkey. Authorities converged on a previously banned PRIDE event in Istanbul on Sunday, leading to the arrest of at least 15 people.

Early on Sunday, the Istanbul Governor’s Office, the provincial-level authority appointed by the national government, issued a warning to LGBT organizers and would-be participants, that the planned PRIDE parade would not be permitted.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative AKP government, which has spread anti-LGBT propaganda, made the event illegal in 2015 for unspecified “security reasons.”

Eyewitness reports from the chaotic scene say police blocked off roads leading into central Istanbul, shut down public transit lines, and deployed officers to block the march. After dispersing the crowd, police allegedly searched the streets for LGBT attendees.

Responding to the ban and subsequent crackdown, LGBT activist groups reportedly reconvened on the other side of the city, issuing a statement saying, “We never get tired of deceiving the police and forcing them to deal with us. You have closed all the streets and squares; you have stopped the life of a whole city, but you have forgotten that we will pierce the stone and find each other if necessary.”

The Turkish provincial authorities also promised to investigate any organizations calling for the PRIDE parade for illegal activities.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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