Participants wave a huge rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Istanbul, June 30, 2013. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters teamed up with a planned gay pride march in Istanbul.
Participants wave a huge rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Istanbul, June 30, 2013. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters teamed up with a planned gay pride march in Istanbul.

ISTANBUL - Istanbul’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride march will go ahead on Sunday even though the governorship of the Turkish city banned it citing security concerns, the organizers of the event said on Friday.

In a statement published on the Facebook page of Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, the organizers said the decision to ban the march was discriminatory and illegitimate.

“This march is organized in order to fight against the violence and discrimination fuelled by that governorship decision,” the organizers said.

“We would like to inform the press and the public that we will go ahead with our prideful march with the same ambition as we had before.”

People march during a gay pride parade in Istanbul
People march during a gay pride parade in Istanbul, June 30, 2013. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters teamed up with a planned gay pride march in Istanbul.

Gay pride parades have been banned in Istanbul for the last three years. Although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike in many other Muslim-majority countries, there is widespread hostility to it across Turkish society.

On Thursday, authorities in the Turkish capital Ankara banned the screening of movie Pride, a 2014 comedy-drama with LGBT themes, citing risks to public safety.

Civil liberties in Turkey have become a particular concern for the West after a crackdown following an attempted military coup in July 2016.

Turkey has detained about 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of state employees since the coup attempt, the United Nations said in March. Of those, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and are being kept in jail during trial.