Gay-Pride Marchers Gassed & Hosed In Istanbul

Photo: Emrah Gurel/ AP Photo.
On the heels of Friday's Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, gay-pride events were especially festive across the U.S. this weekend. But not everyone everywhere was able to just simply celebrate: Pride in Istanbul was subject to massive protests — and sometimes violent confrontations.

At Istanbul's 13th annual Pride parade, police used water cannons and tear gas to deter civilians. Neither arrests nor injuries have been reported, but a Twitter post depicts a pride-flag-bearing man being blown away by a police water cannon.

Istanbul Pride is commonly known as the biggest in the Middle East, and it's not immediately clear why authorities cracked down this year, although some have suggested it's because this year's parade fell during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"WE ARE HERE, GET USED TO IT, WE ARE NOT LEAVING!" an Istanbul LGBT advocacy and organization group posted to Facebook, calling for people to gather at the city's Taksim Square, even despite the police threat. Last year's Istanbul Pride parade also took place during Ramadan, and attracted more than 100,000 people.

Irony made a stunning intervention when sunlight on police-fired water created a rainbow under which drenched marchers appeared to dance undeterred.
By way of contrast, NPR reports that in Seoul, the city's gay-pride parade was protested peacefully by an almost equal number of Christians, who lay down in the streets to prevent the procession of marchers.

Even obtaining permission for the parade was a fraught process: The Seoul police rejected an initial application in May. The rejection was overturned by the Seoul Administrative Court, which said, "Assemblies can be prohibited only when they directly threaten public order."
Last year, parade organizers pledged to defy the district office's withholding permission for the event under pressure from Christian groups in Korea. That parade, like Sunday's, went on as planned.

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