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Turkey, protesting LGBT rights: more than 200 arrests in Istanbul

Turkish police have arrested more than 200 participants in a LGBT rights protest held in Istanbul today. Event organizers deplore this. Authorities cordoned off most of the central district of Cihangir and prevented people from gathering. The protest has previously been banned on security grounds.

Security forces surrounded and detained people with rainbow flags and other symbols of sexual and gender diversity even before the protest began. According to the MLSA Bar Association, one of those arrested was Bulent Kilic, an AFP photographer. Despite the police measures, people waving rainbow flags gathered in the narrow streets of Cihangir, a neighborhood where many artists, authors and theater personalities live, while residents expressed their disapproval of the arrests by hitting pots.

Several associations had launched the pride march under the slogan “resistance”, expressing criticism of what they described as an increasingly hostile environment for LGBT people in Turkey. The authorities also banned other events related to Pride Week. Having been held unimpeded for more than 10 years, the Istanbul Pride Parade has come under increasing pressure since it was first banned in 2015.

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Harold Manning

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