Posted on 28. June 2015 in Country Information, Violence & Hate Speech

Today, the Istanbul Pride has been massively attacked by police forces with teargas, water cannons and plastic bullets. Several people have been injured and have been taken to the hospital.

Find below an account of Kemal Ordek from Red Umbrella Turkey.

(by email)

Today, the Istanbul LGBTI Pride was stopped by the Istanbul police. Several hours ago before the March started, all small streets to Istiklal Street, where the Pride March would take place, were shut by hundreds of policemen. At around 16:00 and on, when several groups arrived at these small streets, they were stopped by these policemen with no explanation. I personally have talked to these police officers as well as other activists, however nothing was provided to us as information. They all said: “This is the order we got from the Istanbul Governorship!”

Those people who started to gather at Taksim Square we also stopped by policemen not to enter the Istiklal Street. The talks between the MPs from CHP (main opposition party) and HDP AND the chiefs of the police couldn’t solve the problem and the ban continued. During this time, the crowds at different small streets grew to thousandsand the police started to attack us, the marchers with teargas, water cannons and plastic bullets. Several LGBTI people got beaten up by the police. Several people have been injured severely and were taken to hospitals.  

Several times, in our attempts to enter the Istiklal Street, the police targeted us with teargas, water cannons and plastic bullets. They never stopped. I tried to talk to police officers in order to be able “breath” at small streets where we were “locked”, they just shouted at me and others to “shut up”. Several people were beaten up in front of us. The Istiklal Street experienced the highest level of police violence, this time to LGBTI people.

Police still attacks several LGBTI people who throw out slogans for our rights on the streets… For the last 4 hours…

I have seen civilians at small streets around Istiklal, running behind the marchers to attack them. Several people were attacked by these people with sticks… As usual, police didn’t protect the marchers against these attacks.

The reasoning is that the March was planned in Ramadan… However last year it was during Ramadan. Last week on Sunday, Trans Pride March took place, during Ramadan, too. Nothing happened so far… This has been the very first ban and attack on the March in the last 13 years… Turkish Government showed its undemocratic face…

I call on every human rights defender, NGO or others to share this news widely while protesting the Turkish Government. We, as LGBTI people deserve living as equal as others. Our right to assembly cannot be breached. We will not keep ourselves silent!