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Istanbul police break up Pride rallies with tear gas

by Emma Fidel
Jun 26 2017, 2:03pm

Istanbul police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on LGBTQ supporters to enforce a ban on Pride parades in Turkey’s largest city on Sunday. They detained at least 20 people during the clash in central Istanbul, as marchers tried to gather in the historically symbolic Taksim Square.

This is the third consecutive year officials have banned Pride events, citing security risks to marchers, residents, and tourists. Far-right Islamist and nationalist groups threatened the parade days before.

But organizers said the ban stemmed from widespread homophobia in the country and blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarian government for suppressing dissent.

The city’s Pride march attracted tens of thousands of people in the years before the ban.