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Istanbul Cancels Gay Pride Parade Following Threats

  • VOA News

People dance and wave peace flags at a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, June 24, 2017. Serbia's first openly gay and female prime minister Ana Brnabic is set to take office next week.

Istanbul's governor has banned a gay pride parade in the city for the second straight year, citing threats from conservative Muslim groups.

Last week, the ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group said it would stop the march from happening Sunday in Taksim Square if authorities took no action to cancel the parade.

On Saturday, the governor's office announced it would not give permission to the parade organizers out of concern for the safety of the marchers and tourists in the city.

It said a number of groups had “serious reactions” to the march, which was planned to coincide with the first day of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Fitr, and urged citizens against continuing with the parade in violation of the ban.

The march was cancelled last year after bombings by the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants raised security levels. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse people who marched in spite of the warnings.

Unlike some other Muslim countries, there is no law in Turkey forbidding homosexuality. The parade has been held since 2003, and drawn peaceful crowds of more than 100,000 people.

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