Riot police formed a blockade around the students, before arresting them one by one. (Twitter/ budirenisi)
A Pride parade at Boğaziçi University, Turkey, was violently broken up by authorities, with dozens of students arrested by riot police.
LGBTQ+ people face increasing persecution in Turkey, and in 2015, Instanbul Pride was banned for the first time.
Following a failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkey declared a state of emergency, which was used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ban all LGBTQ+ rights related events in 2017 under the pretext of providing “peace and security”.
But on Friday (20 May), students at Boğaziçi University, one of the country’s top public universities, went ahead and organised their ninth annual Pride parade.
The event was organised by Boğaziçi University LGBTIA+ Studies Club (BÜLGBTİA+), which is no longer an official society having been disbanded by university officials last year.
Bu kampüs bizim, bırakmaya da niyetimiz yok! Kulübümüzü kapatanlara, LGBTİA+ etkinliklerini engelleyenlere, üzerimize uygulanan mekansızlaştırma politikalarına inat biz yine yürüyeceğiz. Bu sene dokuzuncusunu gerçekleştireceğimiz Boğaziçi Onur Yürüyüşü’nde görüşmek üzere! pic.twitter.com/nnhaNUmhJ6
— Boğaziçi LGBTİA+ (@bogaziciLGBTIA) May 19, 2022
The students waved Pride flags and called for tolerance, while marching towards the former BÜLGBTİA+ club room, but university security immediately descended on the event, and were quickly joined by riot police.
The parade was surrounded by police, who formed a blockade with shields and riot gear and handcuffed the students one by one, slamming multiple participants headfirst into the side of a police bus.
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi’nde öğrencilerin işkenceyle gözaltına alınma anları. (🎥 Anonim) pic.twitter.com/5y0UZgDgly
— Emre Orman 🇵🇸 (@eemreorman) May 20, 2022
— ÜniKuir (@unikuir) May 20, 2022
According to ÜniKuir, an LGBTQ+ students organisation in Turkey, 70 students were arrested at the Pride parade.
Reacting to video footage of the violent arrests, Amnesty Turkey said: “Those who participated in the ninth Pride March at Boğaziçi University faced with unlawful use of force by the police.
“The footage we have analysed shows a police officer hitting someone’s head against the police bus.”
Those who participated in the 9th Pride March at Boğaziçi University faced with unlawful use of force by the police. The footage we have analyzed shows a police officer hitting someone’s head against the police bus.#BoğaziçiOnurYürüyüşühttps://t.co/Vv6IKBOW9s
— Amnesty Turkey (@aforgutu) May 20, 2022
We condemn the violent crackdown on Bogazici University’s Pride march today which violates LGBTI students’ right to freedom of assembly & expression. We call for those detained to be released immediately & authorities to investigate any violence used. #BoğaziçiOnurYürüyüşü https://t.co/xUR2iI5rs1
— ILGA-Europe (@ILGAEurope) May 20, 2022
ILGA Europe added: “We condemn the violent crackdown on Boğaziçi University’s Pride march today which violates LGBTI students’ right to freedom of assembly and expression.
“We call for those detained to be released immediately and authorities to investigate any violence used.”
ÜniKuir reported that the arrested students were taken to Istanbul Vatan Police Headquarters, but were released after their statements had been taken.