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Turkish authorities ban Sunday's LGBTI Pride in Istanbul

24 Juin 2017

A person waves a rainbow flag in front of Istanbul courthouse in June this year in Istanbul.

The march was due to take place Saturday evening, during the final hours of Ramadan.

The decision by Istanbul's governor to call of the parade came amid threats by the ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group to block the parade unless authorities banned it.

March organizers are urging the governor to allow the parade to continue as planned, arguing that by blocking the event he was legitimizing and validating hate groups, like Alperen Hearths, Reuters reported.

The governor's office said on June 24 that the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex) Pride march would be banned for the "security of participants and tourists" and "public order".

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The 2014 Pride March in Istanbul attracted up to 100,000 people, one of largest gatherings celebrating LGBTI rights and diversity in the Muslim world.

Turkey is under a strict state of emergency, introduced after a failed coup in July previous year that gives local authorities a mandate to ban demonstrations they deem risky.

Unlike in many other parts of the Middle East, homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey.

Hakan Taş, a German politician of Turkish origin who is also gay, told Turkish media that the country's LGBT community was coming under increasing pressure and said the ban amounted to a human rights violation.