Turkey detains at least 15 protesters at LGBTI+ pride march

Turkish police detained at least 15 protesters in Istanbul for participating in the banned annual LGBTI+ pride march. The detentions were made after police searched the streets following the dispersal of the participants.

Turkey's LGBTI+ community gather for a Pride parade, which was banned by local authorities, in Istanbul, Turkey June 30. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya


Turkish police detained at least 15 protesters in Istanbul on June 30 for participating at a banned LGBTI+ Pride rally, after searching the streets having arrived at the scene after participants had dispersed, a Reuters witness said.

Police declined to comment.

The Istanbul Governor's Office said earlier on Sunday that the Pride March would not be permitted. Turkish police blocked central Istanbul to prevent the march from taking place, shutting down metro stations and blocking traffic on the main streets.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has toughened its rhetoric against the LGBTI+ community over the past decade and banned pride marches since 2015, citing “security reasons."

The Istanbul Governor's Office labelled the organizations calling for the Pride March as illegal.

Following the ban, LGBT groups gathered in another part of Istanbul on the Asian side, with a representative reading a statement that said: "We never get tired of deceiving the police and forcing them to deal with us."

"You have closed all the streets and squares, you have stopped the life of a whole city, but you have forgotten that we will pierce the stone and find each other if necessary."

Police officers searched the streets for protesters and detained at least 15 people, the Reuters witness said.