Turkey: Pride parade violently broken up by police

In November 2017, the Ankara Government indefinitely banned all public events in Ankara under the state of emergency in place at the time in Turkey. When that state of emergency ended, Ankara imposed a similar ban in October, 2018 

Ankara based LGBTI+ organisations Kaos GL Association and Pink Life separately filed legal challenges, which resulted in a lifting of the original ban as it was found to be unconstitutional under the State of Emergency law. 

METU management relied on the second ban and called for police intervention into the Pride Parade in May 2019. 

Video footage shows that students and academics gathered peacefully on Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (METU) campus, in May last year. It is also shows police telling them that they were not allowed to stand under tents, to fly a rainbow flag or even sit on the lawn. Eventually, they were prevented from reading out a statement and at least 22 people were detained. 

Charges laid accuse all 19 of “failing to disperse despite being warned “. One of the students is also charged with “insult” for allegedly “making a hand gesture considered rude” against police officers. 

Amnesty International believes the METU students and staff’s right to celebrate Pride was unjustifiably violated. They are facing an unfair prosecution simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The charges against them must be dropped.