ISTANBUL ( Associated Press) — Turkish police detained more than 360 people on Sunday following a ban on all LGBT pride events, organizers of the Istanbul March said on Monday.
Kaos GL, a leading LGBTQ rights organization, said all detainees were being released on Monday after giving police statements and undergoing medical examinations. Some were left overnight.
District governors of the popular Byoglu and Kadikoy districts last week banned all LGBTQ events, saying the ban would ensure safety and peace and prevent crime. Police on Sunday closed several roads and metro stations to prevent protesters from gathering. The police also pushed the journalists into custody.
Amnesty Turkey said the ban was “extremely harsh” and “arbitrary”. In Turkey the group’s activist Milena Byum tweeted that the detainees had been “deprived of their freedom to exercise their rights” for freedom of assembly and expression.
Turkish officials have allowed the Pride March for more than a decade starting in 2003, when current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan served as prime minister. In 2014 Istanbul Pride was attended by 100,000 people.
But in 2015, police illegally dispersed the crowd with tear gas and water cannons at the last minute. The march has since been banned and Turkish officials have described LGBTQ people as “perverted” who seek to demolish traditional family values.