Turkish police detain 373 LGBTI pride protestors in Istanbul

Turkish police have once again brutally dispersed the Pride march in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and carried out hundreds of detentions, including AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç.

Photo: Reuters

Duvar English - Reuters

Turkish police have yet again brutally dispersed the Pride march in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and detained 373 people, including AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç.

The district governor's offices of Kadıköy and Beyoğlu in Istanbul previously banned all events planned as part of LGBTI+ Pride Week for a period of seven days.

Riot police on June 26 prevented access to Taksim Square and blockaded many streets in the nearby Cihangir neighborhood, where people tried to convene. Public transportation in the area was also shut down.

Small groups of people carrying rainbow and transgender flags gathered briefly where they could on June 26 and chanted slogans before police dispersed and chased them through the streets, forcibly detaining some.

"Discrimination is a crime, the rainbow is not," one group chanted, while some others read statements to mark Pride week.

AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç was detained (Photo by Emre Orman)

"373 LGBTI+ activists were detained and they were released after a night at custody," LGBTI+ advocacy group Kaos GL on June 27 announced.

Turkish police also attacked a Pride march in the western province of İzmir. Eight people were detained, and journalists including Berkcan Zengin were battered.

Zengin told Gazete Duvar that the police said to him, “We know you. You are not a normal citizen.” Afterwards, Zengin was battered by a police officer while taking a photo.

Pride has been banned by Turkish authorities since 2014. Before then, thousands of people used to take part in the parade in Taksim.

Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but hostility to it is widespread and the police crackdown on the parades has been increasingly harsher over the years.