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Gay pride parades sound a note of resistance _ and face some

25 June 2017

Turkish police have used tear gas and reportedly fired rubber bullets to disperse civilians trying to stage a gay Pride march in Istanbul in defiance of a ban.

It was the second year in a row that it had been banned, citing fears over the safety of marchers and tourists because of threats from right-wing ultra-nationalist groups.

Police established checkpoints in the area on Sunday, preventing groups from entering Istiklal Avenue and turning back people who they deemed were associated with the march.

At least a hundred protesters gathered in a nearby neighborhood, beating drums and chanting slogans such as, "Don't be quiet, shout out, gays exist!" and "Love, love, freedom, State, stay away!" The march in NY and other cities are spotlighting resistance to what participants see as new pressure on gay rights, while contending with the prospect of protests over the events' own diversity and direction. The NYC Pride March started in 1970 as a civil rights demonstration on the 1-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

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Turkish authorities have announced they will not allow a march for gay, lesbian and trans rights to take place Sunday. The supporter of gay right says pride weekend is a time to shine a light on equality.

An AFP journalist said small groups had begun gathering at Taksim Square but a heavy police presence outnumbered the activists.

A statement also said the governor's office had not received a valid parade application - a claim rejected by organizers.

The private Dogan news agency reported the detention of seven people who were protesting Pride. Istanbul has traditionally been seen as a relative safe haven by members of the gay community from elsewhere in the Middle East, including refugees from Syria and Iraq.But although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread.

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The Turkish government says there is no discrimination against LGBT individuals and that current laws already protect each citizen. Thousands marched down Paseo de la Reforma for one of the largest gay pride events in Latin America.

But in 2015, police dispersed crowds using tear gas and water cannons after a last-minute ban.

Trudeau, who became the first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade during last year's event, will be joined by other dignitaries including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde and more than 150 groups and organizations.

Pride organizers think the celebrations were banned the past two years because they coincided with the holy month of Ramadan and a rise in conservatism.

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Sunday's scheduled march was on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of a month of fasting.

Gay pride parades sound a note of resistance _ and face some