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Gay rights activists pushed ahead with a pride rally in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday despite a ban from the governor’s office that has been in place for five years. Istanbul police allowed the demonstrators to gather and listen to a statement from the organizers before firing tear gas into the crowd.
The rally drew several hundred participants into a side street, where they chanted slogans such as “shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism” and “we will not be quiet.” At its height, the march in Istanbul had tens of thousands of participants, but this year only a small fraction of that number attended the side-street rally.
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A heavy police presence was noted across the city throughout the day, with riot gear, police dogs, and water cannons on display. According to rally organizers, they had a deal with the governor’s office to read a public statement and then disperse peacefully. The reasons for police action were a little murky, but the crowd evidently did not disperse quickly enough after the public statement was read.
Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Turkey, Istanbul is seen as more welcoming to homosexuals than most...
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