Police crack down on Istanbul Pride march, detain over 200
June 27, 2022 03:17 AM
Turkish police on Sunday broke up a banned Pride march in Istanbul, detaining more than 200 demonstrators, organisers said.
The governor's office had forbidden the march around Taksim Square in the heart of Istanbul, but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.
Police detained protesters, loading them on to buses. AFP journalists saw four busloads of detained people.
Organisers tweeted that more than 200 Pride participants and LGBTQ activists had been detained and that police had refused detainees access to their lawyers.
Although more than a dozen of them were released later in the day, many were still in police custody at 2000 GMT.
AFP's chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who was taken away handcuffed from the back, was released later on Sunday after presenting a statement to the police, his lawyer said.
Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags had pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.
"The future is queer," they chanted. "We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere."
Kaos GL Association, which campaigns to promote the human rights of LGBTQ people against discrimination, said on Twitter that police had detained 12 other people in the western city of Izmir and that one of them was later released.
Police prevented the press from filming the Istanbul arrests, according to AFP journalists.
"All those detained solely for their participation in Pride must be released immediately and unconditionally," Milena Buyum of Amnesty International said.
Diren, a 22-year-old university student, condemned the hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people.
"We are banned, prevented, discriminated and even killed at every second of our lives. Today, it's a very special day for us to defend our rights and to say that we do exist," Diren told AFP.
"Police violence is aimed to stop us but it is not possible. You will be unable to stop the queers."