Turkey violently suppresses gay pride event

Published June 19th, 2016 - 08:09 GMT
Gay pride supporters are fired upon with tear gas by Turkish forces. (Twitter/@b9AcE)
Gay pride supporters are fired upon with tear gas by Turkish forces. (Twitter/@b9AcE)

Turkish police violently suppressed a gathering today that was held in Istanbul in support of gay rights.  

About 50 people attempted to gather in Taksim Square on Sunday to celebrate gay pride, but Turkish forces were waiting for them and dispersed the gathering using water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas, according to multiple reports and photos and videos on social media. 

On Friday, the Turkish government banned the gay pride event, citing "security concerns." Events that Turkish activists had organized in support of transgender rights, also set to take place this week, were also banned by the government, according to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 

Gay pride events have been held every year in Istanbul for the past 13 years, until last year when riot police intervened with force to disperse the crowds, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported. 

Gay pride demonstrators today tweeted the hashtag "We didn't ask for your permission" in order to voice their defiance of the ban. 

Demonstrations in Taksim Square have been banned since 2013, when protests over a proposed development turned violent and made international headlines for weeks as riot police clashed with tens of thousands of determined anti-government agitators.  

Islamists in Turkey have become more vocal recently. On Friday night, unnamed Islamists attacked people at a Radiohead listening party at a record shop in Istanbul, apparently because the partygoers were drinking alcohol during Ramadan. Islamists reportedly beat partygoers with pipes. 

Homophobia has also been prevalent in Turkey lately. After a Muslim-American gunman killed 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando, a Turkish newspaper with ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ran a headline that said, “Death toll rises to 50 in bar where perverted homosexuals go!” 

-Hunter Stuart

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