People shout slogans during the annual LGBTQ+ Pride March in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, June 30, 2024. Source: AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

Impromptu LGBTQ+ Protest in Istanbul after Governor Bans Pride March


A group of LGBTQ+ protesters held an impromptu demonstration in Istanbul on Sunday after the governor's office banned an annual Pride March.

A statement by the Istanbul governor's office said that it wouldn't allow "various illegal groups" to hold the unauthorized march and fenced off Istanbul's central Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue, where Pride marches usually take place.

The annual Pride March has been banned in Istanbul since 2015, but demonstrators still gather in Taksim and Istiklal every year and clash with authorities.

To circumvent the ban, a group of more than 100 people gathered in the Suadiye neighborhood across town. The demonstrators waved rainbow flags and read a statement, before quickly dispersing when police arrived. The Istanbul Pride Committee said that there were "unconfirmed" reports of at least 15 protesters being detained.

Images on social media showed protesters holding pride flags and calling for an end to "polarization" and anti-LGBTQ+ language used by Turkish politicians.

Turkey previously was one of the few Muslim-majority countries to allow Pride marches. The first was held in 2003, the year after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party came to power.

In recent years, the government has adopted a harsh approach to public events by groups that don't represent its religiously conservative views.

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