Pic: Barış Paksoy Docu News Agency / Facebook
The 13th annual Istanbul Pride parade has been violently stopped from going ahead by police.
While LGBT communities in cities such as Durban, London, New York and San Francisco celebrated Pride this weekend, their Turkish brothers and sisters were denied the right to so on Sunday.
Thousands of LGBT people, friends and journalists who gathered for the event were faced with being swept off their feet by water cannons, injured by rubber bullets and tear gas and arrested as police tried to disperse the crowds.
Participants were defiant, waving rainbow flags, running into side streets and chanting slogans like “legs to shoulders against fascism”, “don’t keep silent, shout it out, gays exist”, “Police, prostitute yourself and live proudly”.
MPs from the HDP and CHP parties formed a human chain in an attempt to prevent riot police from attacking the marchers.
According to Turkish LGBT group Kaos GL, the authorities’ justification for banning the event at the last minute because it was taking place during the month of Ramadan was little more than “an excuse”.
It noted that last year’s Pride took place without incident during Ramadan.
The group called Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin “to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, to immediately cease the attacks, and to make a public statement.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships and LGBT people still face widespread social and legal discrimination.
The Pride chaos was captured by members of the public who posted footage on social media.