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.
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.
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.
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.