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Police in Turkey Shoot Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas at Pride Marchers

Police in Turkey Shoot Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas at Pride Marchers

Police tear gass at pride in Turkey

Pride Parades have been banned in the city since 2015, but unofficial marches are still organized annually.

Participants at Istanbul's annual unofficial Pride Parade on Saturday were pelted with rubber bullets and tear gas by police in riot gear in the latest crackdown on LGBTQ+ people in Turkey.

While the march had been banned, hundreds of people gathered with rainbow flags and walked through Istanbul's Beyoglu district, The Washington Post reported.

Marchers chanted in the streets, "Rainbow is not a crime -- discrimination is."

Pride marches have been banned in the city since 2015. However, unofficial marches have taken place since.

Istanbul's authorities said that this year's ban had been due to the ongoing global pandemic, the BBC reported.

Police detained at least 20 people who participated Saturday, according to several media reports.

Turkey's LGBTQ+ population has become a target for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government in recent years.

"There is no such thing as LGBT. This country is national, spiritual, and walking toward the future with these values," Erdogan said in a speech to his political party earlier this year.

Additionally, the Turkish government withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty aimed at preventing violence against women. Erdogan and his government said the withdrawal was due in part to the convention's attempt to "normalize homosexuality" in a statement explaining the withdrawal.

At the time President Joe Biden released a statement condemning the withdrawal.

"Around the world, we are seeing increases in the number of domestic violence incidents, including reports of rising femicide in Turkey, the first nation to sign the convention," Biden said. "Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable.

This is a disheartening step backward for the international movement to end violence against women globally."

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