Turkish police use rubber bullets and dogs to break up banned Istanbul Pride
Turkish police are using rubber bullets and dogs to disperse crowds of LGBT activists who are marching at Istanbul Pride despite authorities banning the event.
AFP reported that authorities were firing rubber bullets and ITV said that tear gas was also released on peaceful marchers.
It is believed that a number of lawyers working in conjunction with the organisers of the march were temporarily detained.
On Facebook, they wrote that one of the lawyers had been “subjected to bad treatment” in a police vehicle.
Organisers have confirmed that at least 10 people were arrested but it is unclear if they have been charged with any specific crime.
It was the second year in a row that it had been banned, citing fears over the safety of marchers and tourists because of threats from right-wing ultra-nationalist groups.
Organisers of Pride said that they would be able to protect themselves: “Our security will be provided by recognising us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom.”
Authorities also claimed that a properly valid application had not been submitted by organisers – a statement that had been denied.
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”.
The event was due to take place in Taksim Square in the centre of the city, but police established checkpoints around the area to prevent people thought to be protesters from getting to the area.
Those with Pride-affiliated clothing or signs were forced to remove the items.
In Cihangir, a nearby neighbourhood, it is thought that a hundred people gathered chanting: “Don’t be quiet, shout out, gays exist”.
Smaller gatherings of LGBT activists are believed to be held across the city simultaneously with people reading out a statement of defiance published by an LGBT group.
The statement from Pride organisers was written following the ban, the committee wrote that they were “not scared”.
“We are not scared, we are here, we will not change. You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it.
“We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride,” it read.
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.