Istanbul Pride took place in the most populous city in Turkey yesterday (1 July).
The parade was the result of a last-minute agreement between police and the organizers. Despite the initial ban, in fact, the committee granted permission to read a statement on how Pride was important to the LGBTI community.
The celebrations in Beyoglu, in the European district, were peaceful, with marchers dancing in the street and playing music.
Immediately afterward the reading of the statement, however, police ordered attendees to disperse. At their refusal, officers stormed the march, starting shooting rubber bullets and tear gas.
According to Yuri Guaiana of the advocacy group AllOut, police arrested 11 activists. Furthermore, he said ten police officers and a dog targeted one marcher.
‘I will never think of Pride the same again’
‘Government has banned Pride in Istanbul since 2015 without any legal reason, citing “security concerns” for the public,’ said Guaiana.
‘We’ve been working with local partners here for years and [yesterday] I witnessed firsthand their unending strength and defiance. Pride is truly a privilege so many of us take for granted. I will never think of Pride the same again.’
Participants in the march took to social media to share pictures and video of the event.
— Miki Takes Photos (@MikiTakesPhotos) July 1, 2018
Istanbul-based Photographer Miki, who identifies as non-binary, took this picture while they and other participants were trying to escape from the police.
— Y.OZ (@Ozturk_Yalcin) July 1, 2018
User @ozturk_yalcin took this video while police officers were trying to detain some of the activists.
The Istanbul Pride activists are now safe
The activists arrested at Istanbul Pride have been released during the night.
‘Police released all the eleven activists taken under custody last night,’ confirmed Guaiana.
‘They have undergone full medical checks.’
Guaiana also said they are going to have a trial over the following months, but the risk for them to be condemned is very low.
‘The result in this kind of trials is usually acquittance,’ he said.
’24 activists from last year’s march are still awaiting trial.’