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Police storm Istanbul Pride with rubber bullets and teargas, arresting dozens

Police storm Istanbul Pride with rubber bullets and teargas, arresting dozens

two photos: first is a person holding up a rainbow coloured placard reading lgbti rights are human rights the second is the b ack of two police officers watching the pride event

Despite reaching a last minute agreement to hold, police stormed a Pride event in Istanbul, Turkey. They shoot rubber bullets at the crowd and used teargas on the attendees.

Witnesses claimed ten police officers and a police dog targeted one person in an attack.

Istanbul’s governor had banned Istanbul Pride last week, citing security concerns. But organizers came to a last minute agreement with police to go ahead with the event, so long as they contained festivities to within one designated block.

Police gave organizers permission to gather publicly and read a statement on the importance of Pride to the LGBTI community.

But according to Yuri Guiana, a fundraiser advocacy group AllOut, people did not want to only hear a five minute statement. Pride attendees refused to disperse when police ordered them to.

‘Many had to run for their lives when police starting shooting plastic bullets and tear gas,’ Guiana said.

‘Luckily, I made it out safely. Others haven’t been so lucky.

‘Dozens of people were beaten by police and many have been arrested. One attendee was attacked by 10 police officers and a police dog.’

At this stage, reports suggest about 11 people were arrested.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but an increasingly authoritarian state has lead to a crackdown on the LGBTI community. Authorities have banned Pride events around the country for the past several years, including in the capital, Ankara.

Helping those arrested

Guiana said time was of the essence to give legal support to the arrested people.

‘We urgently need your help to defend and protect the fight for Istanbul Pride,’ he said.

AllOut has set up an emergency fundraising page to help people affected by the police actions.

The organization said donations will help it shine a light on the attacks at Istanbul Pride.

‘Pride has been banned in Istanbul since 2015 without any convincing legal justification, citing “security concerns” for the public. In reality, it’s the city’s LGBT+ citizens who face unbelievable danger,’ Guiana said.

‘We’ve been working with local partners here for years and today I witnessed firsthand their unending strength and defiance.

‘Pride is truly a privilege so many of us take for granted. After today, I will never think of Pride the same again.’

#IstanbulPride

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