‘Turkish Police’ officers dressed in riot gear clashed with LGBTQ attendees who were gathered in small groups to try and celebrate PRIDE following yet another year where government officials have banned the Pride parade from taking place in Istanbul.

This marks the fourth year in a row that Turkish officials have banned Istanbul Pride. Attendees who showed up to celebrate pride in defiance of authorities ran into violent clashes with police on Sunday July 1, 2018. Police were seen using plastic bullets and tear gas to break up the LGBTQ marchers which turned out to be a media scandal for the country worldwide.

Turkish Police Water cannons Tear Gas

Prior to President Erdogan taking power as president, Pride parades and festivals were a routine and always attracted tens of thousands of people to Istanbul’s main Istiklal street. The crowds have been getting smaller over the past 4 years especially with the crack down by Turkish police.

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In fact one of the marchers who saw the violence put upon LGBTQ attendees by the ‘Turkish Police’,  published on Twitter “100s of police throughout the Taksim area to stop the İstanbul Pride taking place but creative and courageous Pride participants sidestep the ban and read their press statement at a back street spontaneous protest,”.

“Like every year, we are here, on these streets. Our laughter, our exclamations, our slogans still echo in these streets,” Organizers for the small gathering of LGBTQ attendees said in the statement read out during the rally. “We miss the marches attended by thousands where we celebrate our visibility. We make fun of those who try to place boundaries on us by the pride of our existence and the strength of our pride.”

Turkish Police appeared to be angered by the statement and immediately moved to disperse the crowd but several attendees continued walking – carrying their pride flags and colors through the streets in smaller groups.

In fact one of the attendees in Sunday’s Pride events took a snap pic’ while running away from the police. and posted the following on Twitter…”Running from the police, round 1. Istanbul pride. (And yes, I took this while I was also running…),”.

Istanbul has traditionally been known in the Arab world to be a relatively safe haven for members of the LGBTQ community. While homosexuality is not listed as a crime in Turkey, homophobia remains widespread and increasing following the extreme conservative government of president Erdogan who has also institued a ban in Istanbul and Ankara of airing, producing any and all LGBT movies and plays from being viewed in pubic venues citiing pubic sensitivities and security.

Article by: William Lopez, Staff Writer

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