June 24, 2016

TURKEY: Authorities Have Banned Gay Pride Scheduled For This Sunday, June 26th. Please Sign Amnesty Int'l Petition To Lift Ban. ♥

Amnesty International
written by Staff
Tuesday June 21, 2016

For people who support LGBTI rights in Turkey, Istanbul Pride is a valuable and rare event. The message of acceptance and equality rights for LGBTI people is in stark contrast to the discrimination faced by many LGBTI people in the country.

LGBTI people are not afforded the same protections and rights as heterosexual people in Turkey, and there is no law that prevents someone being discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, for example.

The decision by authorities in Istanbul to ban Pride instead of protecting the tens of thousands of people who were due to march is a cowardly move that reinforces that discrimination, instead of taking the opportunity to challenge it and stand up for equal rights.

Trans Pride a warning of things to come?
On Friday 17 June, Istanbul city authorities banned both Trans Pride and Pride marches – but Trans Pride went ahead anyway on Sunday 19 June. Yet the collective gathering of people standing for trans rights was met with zealous force from the police force, who used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the march.

2015 march marred by police violence
It should be an opportunity to meet together and celebrate LGBTI rights. And for years, Istanbul Pride was a chance for people to do just that. Then last year, for the first time in the event’s 12-year history, Istanbul Pride was banned by the city’s authorities.

The city’s governor cancelled Pride as he claimed there hadn’t been a formal application for the event to go ahead – and feared that there could be clashes between Pride participants and anti-LGBTI demonstrators targeting the march. One major problem: the authorities did not tell Pride organisers it had been cancelled.

Demonstrators gathered in June 2015 as planned, only to be met with violence from the police who should have been there to protect them. Instead, they came under fire from water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray as police tried to disperse demonstrators and counter-demonstrators.

The day after the march, Istanbul’s governor justified police action, saying that attendees had turned up despite the event being cancelled, and police were trying to disperse them from gathering.

What we’re calling for
Quite simply, we want people to be able to use their freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as is their right, to meet and peacefully enjoy Istanbul Pride.

Instead of shutting down the event, we’re asking city authorities to protect those marching from any potential violence from counter-protestors.

City authorities must also make sure that the police protect marchers instead of targeting them with force, simply for turning up to peacefully meet and celebrate LGBTI rights.

We met with the Governor of Istanbul last week to ask him to let the Pride marches go ahead safely and securely. Please support our calls and sign the petition to the city authorities. We’ll fax over petitions so they can see the international support for peaceful celebration of LGBTI rights from people around the world.


Tens of thousands of people who were due to march peacefully in Istanbul in celebration of LGBTI rights this Sunday, 26 June, are being stopped from meeting and demonstrating.

City authorities have banned Pride, citing potential security risks. But the authorities should protect those attending the march, not deny them their right to celebrate it. Pride is a time to exercise free speech and freedom of assembly. Call on city authorities to let Istanbul Pride go ahead safely.

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