Turkish Riot Police Crack Down On Banned Pride Parade

From NY-Post:
Turkish riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into crowds of organizers during Istanbul’s unauthorized Pride Parade–one day after authorities banned the celebration over “safety concerns.”

Sunday’s demonstration marks the third year LGBTQ celebrations have been banned in the country, with President Tayyip Erdogan and the Istanbul governor’s office citing threats to revelers from an unspecified “ultra-nationalist group.”

Riot police, armed with shields and helmets, used their bodies to seal streets the organizers were predicted to use, while officers with dogs chased activists who dared unfurl flags. At least 10 demonstrators have been detained, Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reports — adding security forces outnumbered those hoping to march.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, unlike in many Muslim-majority nations.

Istanbul’s Pride Parade formerly drew tens of thousands from across the Muslim world. Yet critics say Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little investment in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women.

“It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right,” Organizer Lara Ozlen told the Agence-France Presse Saturday. “It’s been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say ‘do not march’ just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic.”

“We are not scared, we are here, we will not change,” The Gay Pride organising committee said in a statement Sunday, before the crackdown. “You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it. We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride.”

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