The State Department on Monday expressed concerned over the latest police crackdown against participants in an Istanbul Pride march.
Reuters and other media outlets reported police in riot gear on Saturday used tear gas to disperse march participants near Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue.
Videos posted to social media show officers pushing and dragging people who were waiving Pride flags. Reuters cited local media reports that indicate a journalist was among the upwards of 20 people who were detained.
“We are concerned by the recent prevention of the exercise of freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly in Istanbul,” tweeted State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday. “We remain committed to promoting human rights and call on Turkish authorities to respect fundamental freedoms for all, including LGBTQI+ persons.”
Reuters reported Istanbul authorities banned the march. They have also thwarted previous Pride events.
Police in 2017 arrested nearly two dozen people who defied a ban on Pride events. They used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse LGBTQ activists who tried to march from Taksim Square.
Police in 2015 used tear gas and water cannons against people who were about to participate in another Istanbul Pride march.
The Washington Blade has reached out to LGBTQ activists in Istanbul for more comment.