Istanbul’s 16th annual Pride parade, scheduled for this Sunday, June 30, is at serious risk. Authorities have cracked down on this peaceful celebration every year since 2015, using excessive force to disperse participants.
“Fifty years ago today, LGBTI+ people took to the streets outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City to fight against bigotry and prejudice – and they won. On Sunday, thousands will take to the streets of Istanbul, defying an unlawful ban and possibly braving plastic bullets, teargas and police batons, to celebrate Pride,” said Sara Hall, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.
Thus far this year, Pride celebrations have been suppressed across Turkey. On June 22, despite an official ban, several hundred people gathered to celebrate pride in Izmir. More than a dozen participants were detained, despite complying with an order to disperse. All have since been released. A Pride march on May 10 at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara was violently broken up after the rector instituted a last minute ban.
In reaction to the banning and suppression of Pride events, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director said
“These discriminatory decisions are part of a widening and increasingly worrying suppression of LGBTI rights in Turkey… These events are a vibrant celebration of love, inclusion and diversity and the authorities have no place in applying unlawful and arbitrary bans.”
Amnesty International will have observers on the ground to monitor events on Sunday. Follow Amnesty Turkey’s twitter account @aforgutu and Amnesty International Turkey campaigner @MilenaBuyum for updates in Turkish and English.