Istanbul Pride Marchers Bravely Continue Parade Down Side Streets to Avoid Police Tear Gas

epa04822889 Activists face Turkish riot police blocking a road during a rally on the occasion of the 13th annual Gay Pride Parade in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2015. Numerous LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) activists and supporters were marching through downtown Istanbul to support rights for sexual minorities. Leaders of the 13th annual Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade said police used force on the tens of thousands of people who had arrived at the city's central Taksim Square waving rainbow flags and holding placards. EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU
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Participants in Istanbul’s pride parade refused to allow heavy handed police tactics deter their celebration.

CNN reports that Sunday’s pride parade was interrupted by police who fired pepper spray, tear gas and rubber pellets at thousands when they arrived to march.

While the parade has been held peacefully for the past 13 years, the Istanbul governorship was not allowing the procession this year, citing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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The police presence did little to deter parade goers however, with a large number continuing to celebrate in the side streets, as riot police chased other attendees from arteries of Istanbul’s main commercial district of Taksim.

Istanbul-Pride-2012-2

Activists claim Ramadan was being used merely as excuse for the crackdown on GLBT activists, with some activists saying the Turkish  government is attempting to silence all minorities and anyone officials perceives as a threat to the conservative ruling Justice and Development Party.

epa04822889 Activists face Turkish riot police blocking a road during a rally on the occasion of the 13th annual Gay Pride Parade in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2015. Numerous LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) activists and supporters were marching through downtown Istanbul to support rights for sexual minorities. Leaders of the 13th annual Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade said police used force on the tens of thousands of people who had arrived at the city's central Taksim Square waving rainbow flags and holding placards.  EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

In a shock election result earlier this month, the Justice and Development Party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fell short of securing enough votes for single-party rule.

CNN reports that according to some sources, the crackdown on Sunday’s march was an attempt to appeal to Erdogan’s conservative base.

“This is happening after the elections because they realise the power of the LGBTI movement,” Transgender activist Ruzgar Buski told CNN.

“Erdogan’s government has lost their power and they know the LGBTI community stands with other minorities.”

 Article | Levi Joule.

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