Istanbul Pride banned by Turkish authorities amid ‘safety fears’
Turkish authorities have cancelled Istanbul Pride ahead of the event tomorrow (June 25) amid concerns over safety.
Istanbul governor’s office said that the march to celebrate LGBT equality would not be allowed to go ahead because of fears for tourist and participant safety.
It is the third Pride annual Pride event to be cancelled in a row.
Authorities claimed that the area organisers planned to start the march, Taksim Square, was not suitable or designated for demonstrations.
They also cited a lack of “appropriate” application for the Pride event.
Anti-LGBT groups had threatened “serious reactions” against Pride-goers, causing more safety fears.
Kürşat Mican, head of the ultranationalist right-wing group The Alperen Hearths, said that they would not allow the rally.
“If the state allows it, we will not. We will not allow them to walk. Wherever they march, we’ll also go. We will close down that street and they will not be able to go there. If we want, our numbers can reach 200,000,” Mican said in a statement made earlier this week.
A statement from the Istanbul governor’s office read that there “are serious criticisms against this march and from different fractions of the society on social media”.
They called for residents of Istanbul to “help the security officers by abiding by their calls and warnings”.
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Pride rallies have been organised for the last 13 years in Istanbul.
The last successful march was held in 2014 with an estimated 100,000 people turning out for one of the largest LGBT celebrations in a Muslim majority country.
In 2015 the march was cancelled citing a “flagrant violation of the constitution and the law” but a number of marchers defied authorities and gathered anyway. However, they were dispersed by police using tear gas and rubber bullets.
2016’s Pride event was also cancelled, citing a Government ban and security concerns.
They claimed that the concerns stemmed from the Orlando massacre which left 49 people dead.
Defiant activists once again took to the streets but over 300 riot officers and a water cannon were deployed to break up the event.