Istanbul Pride march to go on despite governor's ban

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Istanbul Pride march to go on despite governor's ban

ISTANBUL (AP) - Activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights said they will march for LGBT pride in Istanbul on Sunday, despite a ban by the governor.

The organizing committee for LGBTI pride week reacted to the decision of the Istanbul Governor's Office, saying banning the march contravenes worldwide conventions, Turkish law and the constitution.

Organisers of the Gay Pride parade had vowed Sunday to press ahead with the event a day after officials in Turkey's largest city banned it, citing safety and public order concerns after threats from ultra-nationalists and Islamists.

Police prevented pro-LGBT groups from entering the Istiklal Avenue area on Sunday and turned back people who they deemed were associated with the march.

But at least 100 protesters gathered in the nearby Cihangir neighbourhood, beating drums and chanting: 'Don't be quiet, shout out, gays exist!'

She also said police had used tear gas and rubber bullets against a small group of protesters.

In a statement, he said: 'There are very serious reactions against this call by different segments of society [and] on social media platforms.

Pride organizers think the celebrations were banned the past two years because they coincided with the holy month of Ramadan and a rise in conservatism.

"Our security can not be provided by imprisoning us behind walls, asking us to hide", they added.

"We are not scared, we are here, we will not change", the Pride Committee said in a statement on Sunday, as reported by AFP.

Previous year the Alperen Ocaklari, an ultra-nationalist and conservative group, threatened to attack Pride events if the authorities didn't ban them. The statement also said the governor's office had not received a valid parade application - a claim rejected by organizers. He honored Judge Paul Feinman - who last week became the first openly gay judge confirmed for the New York State Court of Appeals.

LGBT activists have lobbied for years to have sexual orientation and gender identity covered by Turkish laws protecting civil rights and prohibiting hate speech but the clauses have not been included in updated legislation.

Majority Muslim Turkey is among the few nations in the region in which homosexuality is not illegal.

Last year, with the city on the edge after bombings blamed on Islamic State group and Kurdish militants, organisers were denied permission to march.

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