Riot police disperse Istanbul’s Pride paradeAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Last weekend, while Americans celebrated a victorious ruling at the Supreme Court, riot police disbanded a Pride parade in Istanbul, Turkey.
According to Boysan Yakar, a Turkish LGBT activist and former HRC fellow, riot police used water cannons and rubber pellets to disperse Istanbul’s 13th annual pride parade, writes Adrian Gonzalez on the HRC Blog.
“Our community is in shock at the harassment we faced during Pride this year,” Yakar told HRC. “There is no excuse for such behavior especially from the police.”
According to Reuters, the event was banned because it coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although other LGBT events have occurred in the past during Ramadan peacefully.
Last year’s pride parade, which was during Ramadan and attracted tens of thousands of attendees, had police on the scene, but they were there to intervene in the event of violence rather than to stop the celebration altogether.
While homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party he founded have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.
The parade has been held in the past and has been described as the biggest gay pride event in the Muslim world.
“These people do not hurl stones and they never would. They do not throw petrol bombs. They just ask for a legal recognition,” said one supporter, who gave his name as Bulent.
“This summarizes what has been happening in Turkey. Any request for rights is met like this.”
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