Turkey: Police pepper spray and tear gas LGBT activists at Pride parade

Turkish police arrest LGBTQ+ people

At least 36 people were arrested during the Pride march in Ankara (Image: AP)

Police in Turkey broke up an LGBTQ+ pride parade with pepper spray and tear gas against crowds in a bid to garner a full-scale demonstration of discrimination.

According to UniKuir activists, at least 36 people were arrested in the capital Ankara after the authorities banned such demonstrations for security reasons.

They were part of a group of 50 people holding rainbow flags and marching towards a main park to mark the end of Pride Month.

Reuters journalists witnessed police pepper-spraying activists and dragging them on the ground before handcuffing them and putting them on buses.

A small group of Islamists who see the LGBTQ+ community as a threat held a counter-demonstration near the park.

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey, but official opposition to it has increased in recent years.

Turkish plainclothes police officers (right) scuffle with demonstrators

Turkish plainclothes police officers (right) scuffle with protesters (Image: AP)

A man is arrested and tied up during the march

A man is arrested and tied up during the march (Image: AP)

People are arrested during the LGBTQ pride march in Ankara

Turkish authorities had banned such events (Image: AP)

Clashes erupt between protesters and Turkish police at the LGBTQ Pride march in Ankara

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey but official opposition to it has increased in recent years (Image: AP)

The transcontinental country was one of the few Muslim-majority countries to allow Pride marches, and the first was held in 2003.

Last year President Erdoğan praised his AKP’s youth wing for carrying the “glorious history of this nation” and not being “LGBTQ+ youth”.

The crackdown in the Turkish capital comes a week after officials broke up a major annual Pride march in Istanbul.

More than 300 participants were arrested and journalists covering the event were also arrested. Most were released after a night in detention.

According to Human Rights Watch, the number of arrests was three times the number of the previous seven Istanbul Pride marches combined.

The march, which drew more than 100,000 participants at its peak in 2014, has been banned since 2015.

“The Turkish government’s crackdown on Istanbul Pride is the latest in a brutal campaign against LGBTQ+ rights activism and freedom of expression,” said Kyle Knight, senior LGBTQ+ rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The Turkish authorities have a responsibility to protect LGBTQ+ people and journalists alike, but instead the authorities have acted with aggression and cruelty.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/05/turkey-police-pepper-spray-and-teargas-lgbt-activists-at-pride-march-16948437/ Turkey: Police pepper spray and tear gas LGBT activists at Pride parade

Justin Scacco

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