Turkish authorities have banned the LGBT Pride parade in Istanbul for the second year in a row, citing “safety concerns.”
“There will be no permission for a demonstration or a march on the said date considering the safety of tourists in the area… and public order,” declared the city’s governor’s office in a statement.
According to Yahoo News, “Last year, organizers were denied permission to march with the city on edge over bombings blamed on Islamic State group and Kurdish militants, sparking anger from gay rights activists.”
Amnesty International condemned the move to ban the parade, expressing “deep concerns” in a statement.
“That decision ignores LGBTs and their supporters’ right to peaceful assembly,” they explained. “Turkey should protect Gay Pride rather than banning it.”
In a report on the ban, the Hindu claimed that the Islamic nationalist “Alperen Hearths group threatened last week to prevent the march if authorities did not act.”
“Two years ago police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse participants, after organizers said they had been refused permission because it coincided with the holy month of Ramadan,” the Hindu continued. “While homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party, which is rooted in puritanical Islam, have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.”
This decision comes on the heels of several other high-profile stories out of Turkey, including the condemnation of German mosques that bring together men, women, and gays in worship as “incompatible with Islam.” Istanbul was also in the news following the release of a viral video showing a man attacking a woman for daring to wear shorts during Ramadan.