Turkey police forcibly break up Istanbul Pride march, detaining dozens, including journalist

Turkish police forcibly intervene in a Pride march in Istanbul, detaining dozens of demonstrators and an AFP photographer, AFP journalists on the ground say.

The governor’s office had banned the march around Taksim square in the heart of Istanbul, but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.

Police detained protesters, loading them into buses. AFP journalists saw two buses of people who had been held, including AFP’s chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who had been handcuffed behind his back. Kilic, who was also detained last year during the Pride march, is currently in police custody.

Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout the period of the modern Turkish republic, LGBTQ individuals point to regular harassment and abuse.

Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003.

The last march which took place without a ban — in 2014 — drew tens of thousands of participants in one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the majority Muslim region.

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