Instanbul Police Fire Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets At Pride Participants

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at participants of an LGBTQ Pride event in Instanbul
(screen capture via Global News)

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at participants of a Pride March in Instanbul on Saturday, arresting 25 people.

Among those detained was AFP photographer Bulent Kilic.

From Deutsche Welle:

While thousands gathered peacefully in Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Milan and elsewhere in Europe for Pride parades, the authorities in Istanbul reacted with a heavy hand to those who gathered in the central Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

The march participants comprised several civil society groups that gathered under the motto “the street is ours.” Footage and photos of demonstrators showed some being pushed and dragged by riot police on Istiklal Avenue in the heart of the city.

Images posted on social media showed photographer Kilic pressed to the ground with police holding him down with their knees.

Reporters Without Borders in Turkey tweeted in support of Kilic, demanding his immediate release. AFP reported Kilic had been released later in the evening.

Authorities in Instanbul have banned Pride events since 2014 when 100,000 showed up for the festivities. Officials say “public safety” was a concern.

It’s been a rough year for LGBTQ advocates in Turkey as elected officials have grown more and more vocal in their opposition to queer communities.

“There is no such thing as LGBT,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in February during an address to his party. “This country is national, spiritual and walking toward the future with these values.”

In March, Erdoğan abandoned the landmark Instanbul Convention because it “normalizes homosexuality.”