Turkish activists defied the government’s ban on holding an annual gay pride march in Istanbul on Sunday.
At least 93 people were arrested during the event, Pride organizers said.
Amnesty International’s office in Turkey said at least one person suffered head injuries while in police custody.
The latest arrests come after conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won another presidential term to extend his rule until 2028. During his election campaign, Erdogan said that LGBTQ+ people harmed those family values, repeating his government’s disdain for the community. He and his representatives have tried for years to block the annual Istanbul Pride Parade.
Davut Gül, governor of Istanbul Province, suggested before the event that he would not allow it to continue, citing concerns about “threats to family life.”
“We do not accept this policy of hatred and denial,” Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week said in a statement.
Several events associated with Pride Month, including a picnic and a film screening, have been banned.
On Sunday, police in Istanbul cordoned off large parts of the inner city before the start of the march to prevent rally participants. But hundreds of Pride participants moved to another part of the city and eventually gathered in Istanbul’s upscale Nisantasi neighborhood, waving rainbow flags.
Police in the western Turkish city of Izmir also cracked down on Pride attendees, detaining at least 48 people, according to organizers.
Turkey’s LGBTQ+ community fears more pressure after conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the May vote. But this year the pride march started and ended earlier than expected without any street clashes or police violence, according to the AFP news agency.
Last year, organizers claimed that around 400 people were trapped in the middle of the festival, which was also banned.
jsi/dj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)