Last Updated Jun 25, 2017 4:48 PM EDT
ISTANBUL — Turkish police stopped activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights from gathering in large numbers for LGBT pride in Istanbul on Sunday, but smaller groups made impromptu press statements defying a ban imposed by the governor.
Organizers of the 2017 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride had vowed to march in central Taksim Square, using a Turkish hashtag for “we march,” despite the ban on gay pride observances ordered by the Istanbul governor’s office for the third year in a row.
Police established checkpoints in the area, preventing groups from entering Istiklal Avenue and turning back individuals who were deemed to be associated with the planned march. Small groups assembled on side streets were chased away by officers.
At least a hundred protesters gathered in a nearby neighborhood, beating drums and chanting slogans such as, “Don’t be quiet, shout out, gays exist!” and “Love, love, freedom, State, stay away!” They carried a banner that read, “Get used to, we are here.”
Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds and activists said plastic bullets were also used. Riot-control vehicles and buses were dispatched to the area. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said “an estimated 20 people” were detained after protesters did not heed warnings to disperse because the march did not have a permit.
Among those detained was Associated Press journalist Bram Janssen, who was covering the events. Footage from the scene showed officers grabbing him by the arms and escorting him to a van. The AP was trying to…