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Istanbul's Pride march is banned just one day before the event

Istanbul’s Pride celebrations have been cancelled for the third year in a row.

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The city’s governor cancelled the celebrations which were due to take place in the city on Sunday, citing security concerns after threats from an ultra-nationalist group.

The ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group had threatened to stop the march if authorities did not cancel it. The governor’s office said that it took its decision out of concern for the security of marchers, tourists and residents.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, and tens of thousands of people were expected to take part in the march, which is the largest in the Muslim world.

Back in 2003 when the country held its first Pride March  there were 30 marchers, but by 2014 the numbers had swelled to an estimated 100,000. However since Recep Erdoğan became the country’s President in 2014 there has been a crackdown on events held held by LGBT people.

Organisers have reportedly said they will defy the government’s ban and forge ahead.

Lara Ozlen from the Gay Pride organising committee told AFP news agency that LGBTI Turkish citizens had a constitutional right to march.

“It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right”.

“It’s been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say ‘do not march’ just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic,” Ozlen said.

Last year when transgender activists attempted to march in defiance of the band police fired tear gas and plastic bullets at the crowd.

Amnesty International has expressed concern over the repetitive banning of the march.

OIP Staff, Image: Peter Hershey


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