Rainbows, and politics too, at pride parade

Carla Harmon
June 27, 2017

Organizers of the 2017 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride called for the march in central Taksim Square, using a Turkish hashtag for "we march".

In the Cihangir neighborhood, at least 100 protesters beat drums and chanted, "Don't be quiet, shout out, gays exist!"

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds and activists said plastic bullets were also used.

In Minneapolis, protesters waving "Black Lives Matter signs" marched behind a large banner that read "Justice for Philando" in honor of Philando Castile, who was shot to death in a traffic stop.

Know what to do with your Thrift Savings Plan the next time the stock market crashes? But Pride organizers said in a statement Sunday that the threats themselves should be dealt with rather than limiting demonstrations.

"This ban is in violation not only of the legal precedents of the European Court of Human Rights but also of global treaties, legislations in the domestic law and the Constitution", the LGBTI Pride organizing committee said in a statement. The Turkish government says there is no discrimination against gays and that current laws already protect citizens. Between 200 and 300 gay rights activists gathered for the banned parade.

In a year when leaders are anxious about the president's agenda, parade organizers in NY and San Francisco were more focused on protest.

Istanbul's governor in 2015 banned Pride-related events.

Istanbul's governorship said on Saturday that no proper application had been filed for the march - a statement denied by the organisers.

Last Monday, the Alperen Ocakları, an offshoot of Turkish nationalist movement the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları), announced that they would not allow LGBTI members to hold a pride parade on June 25.

Horrified participants who had assembled at Taksim Square where the march was due to begin, were chased away by police with tear gas and water cannons.

A year ago the Alperen Ocaklari, an ultra-nationalist and conservative group, threatened to attack Pride events if the authorities didn't ban them.

Brooke Guinan, a trans woman and FDNY firefighter; Krishna Stone, the director of community relations at GHMC and Geng Le, founder of Blued, the largest gay social networking app in the world, also helmed the parade.

"This is a true grassroots movement where people are aligning under the notion that there's no equality and pride for some of us without reparations for all of us", she said.

This year, the parade coincided with the first day of Eid, the festival marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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