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Turkish police shut down Istanbul’s annual Pride Parade, detain dozens after arrests
Turkish police blocked hundreds of people from gathering for Istanbul’s annual Pride parade on Sunday and detained dozens after local authorities banned the march from going ahead again this year.
Thousands of people used to attend Pride marches on Istanbul’s main Istiklal Avenue. However, in recent years, the government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has toughened its stance on LGBTQ+ freedom.
Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but hostility to it is widespread and the police crackdown on the parades have grown increasingly tougher over the years.
On Sunday, police in riot gear prevented access to Taksim Square and blockaded many streets in the nearby Cihangir neighbourhood, where people had tried to convene. Public transportation in the area was also shut down.
Local authorities in the Beyoglu district had banned all Pride Week events between June 20-26, saying they could lead to public unrest due to society’s sensitivities, while the Istanbul Bar Association said peaceful demonstrations cannot be banned.
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