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Turkey bans Istanbul Pride, organizers vow to march anyway

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Turkey bans Istanbul Pride, organizers vow to march anyway

Turkish authorities announced Saturday they will not allow the Istanbul Pride march to take place on Sunday — the third year in a row the celebration has been banned. The move prompted criticism from rights groups and fears of possible violence, as Pride organizers said they would defy the ban.For more than a decade, the Istanbul Pride has attracted tens of thousands of participants, making it one of largest gatherings celebrating gay, lesbian and transgender rights and diversity in the Muslim world.Unlike other Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey.

It said the area around central Taksim Square, where the march begins, was not designated for demonstrations.The volunteer-organized Pride committee said the ban violates domestic and international law limiting the right to peaceful assembly. It asked the governor’s office to reconsider and fulfill its obligations by providing security precautions.The city government also said “very serious reactions by different segments of society” were raised against the march.This week, like last year, ultra-nationalist and conservative groups said they would not allow the Pride march to take place even if the authorities allowed it.

said Deniz Sapka, a 27-year-old transgender woman originally from the southeastern province of Hakkari, who goes by that surname to avoid recognition by family members.

Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul and Suzan Fraser