Turkish Police Use Water Cannons To Disperse Gay Pride Parade

Turkish Police Use Water Cannons To Disperse Gay Pride Parade

Riot police used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber pellets to break up the hundreds who had gathered — many in colorful clothing and waving rainbow flags — to celebrate the 13th annual pride parade in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday. 

Organizers said on Twitter they had been denied permission to hold the parade because it coincided with Ramadan this year. The parade has been held in the past and has been described as the biggest gay pride event in the Muslim world.

The Daily Sabah reported that the the event was cancelled by government officials barely minutes before the parade was to begin, and the parade participants’ unwillingness to leave the square caused the event to turn sour.

Warning: The videos below may contain some disturbing content.

A Huffington Post reporter said on Twitter that she was hit by a water cannon while she was interviewing peaceful protesters at the event.

Nearly 98% of the population in Turkey is Muslim, but it is allegedly the only Muslim country in the world that has no state religion and has a Constitution that guarantees religious freedom and tolerance. 

According to Reuters, while homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party he founded have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.

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