"Thousands" Present at Istanbul Pride Despite Being Banned

Approximately sixty participants were arrested during a banned Pride march in Istanbul. According to Amnesty International, more than a thousand demonstrators took to the streets to demand equal rights for Turkish LGBT+ individuals.
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In Turkey, under the recently re-elected President Erdogan, LGBT+ rights are under threat. During the elections in May, the president used strong anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, referring to the community as "poison" that threatens family values.

Nevertheless, over a thousand participants defied the ban. They marched through the streets of the Şişli district with rainbow flags. However, this act was not without risk, as LGBT+ organisations in Turkey reported that approximately sixty individuals were arrested by the police.

"While thousands take to the streets of Istanbul, they risk being confronted with tear gas and rubber bullets. The authorities must ensure the safety and unhindered continuation of Pride marches in Turkey," says Nils Muižnieks, Director for Europe at Amnesty International. "By escalating the anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, the government has helped fuel prejudice. Under the guise of protecting family values, the authorities deny LGBT+ individuals the right to live freely."

Officially, Pride events are not banned in Turkey. However, since 2015, Pride marches, film screenings, and other activities have been systematically prohibited on the grounds of "maintaining public order." Last year, around 200 participants of Istanbul Pride were arrested.

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