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Turkish Police Fire Tear Gas to Disperse LGBTI March in Istanbul

Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds and detained dozens of LGTBI activists as hundreds defied a ban and tried to stage a gay pride event in Istanbul, June 26, 2021.

Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd that gathered for a Pride parade Saturday in central Istanbul, detaining some of those seeking to take part in an event banned by local authorities.

Reuters TV video showed police in riot gear pushing and dragging people, some waving rainbow flags as they assembled for the event in a side street off the city's central Istiklal Avenue.

Some 20 people, including a photojournalist, were detained, according to media reports.

Turkish authorities repeatedly have banned Pride events in recent years. Before then, thousands of people used to take part in the parade through Istanbul.

Turkey has long been a candidate to join the European Union, but its accession process has been languishing for years amid tensions over a variety of issues, including human rights.

A majority of European Union leaders vowed Thursday to continue combating discrimination against the LGBTI community in a joint letter amid a standoff with Hungary, whose parliament last week approved a bill that bans the distribution of material in schools deemed to promote homosexuality or gender change.