Gay pride event in Istanbul – level 3
Often dubbed the largest gay pride event in the Muslim world, the atmosphere on the streets of Istanbul took a turn after Turkish police fired a water cannon, rubber pellets and, reportedly, tear gas, to disperse crowds gathered for the city’s annual Pride Parade.
It was not immediately clear why law enforcers stopped the marchers gathering, however, local news suggest that the parade was unexpectedly cancelled by the Istanbul Government Office as its timing this year coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, something that could affront conservative Muslims.
Several hundreds of people ran to the back streets as they booed and jeered at police.
Coming just days after the historic Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage legal across the US, the heavy-handed approach taken by Istanbul’s riot police was particularly infuriating for the LGBT community.
“The people do not hurl stones and they never would. They do not throw petrol bombs. They just ask for a legal recognition. You have seen the intervention here. This is the summary of what has been happening in Turkey. Any request for rights are met like this.”
“We want same-sex marriages to be legalised like many European countries. We want normalisation. We want LGBT members not to be killed. And we want to end violence against women, animals and all living creatures”.
According to a journalist at the scene, the police appeared intent on stopping the crowd gathering near Taksim Square, a traditional rallying ground for demonstrators which saw weeks of unrest in 2013.
While unlike most other Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, homophobia remains widespread.
Difficult words: dub (to give an unofficial name), took a turn (to change), disperse (to make go away), gather (to come together), annual (happening every year), coincide (to happen to be at the same time), affront (to make angry), jeer (to say something rude loudly), infuriating (making you furious – very angry), hurl (to throw), intent (to want to do something), rallying (meeting).
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