Protesters on Turkey’s 5th annual Trans Pride march, which was hosted in Istanbul this week, have promised to “keep on fighting” against the country’s “corrupt regime”.
The march, held on 22 June, comes ahead of Istanbul’s 22nd Gay Pride Week, which runs from 23 to 29 June. Last year’s Pride attracted tens of thousands of protestors.
Protesters marched from the front of the French Embassy along Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue to Tünel Square. Police prevented demonstrators from meeting in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s major tourist and leisure district, which since May 2013 has been the site of major political protests.
In a press statement, the group vowed to “protect gay pride on the streets, in the parks and prisons”, and demanded changes to legislation on gay employment rights, hate crimes and sex work.
Same-sex relations have been legal in Turkey since 1858 but civil rights laws do not cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
Nevertheless, the lack of laws protecting LGBT minority groups has led to harassment and hate crimes.