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Thousands take part in Belgian Pride event

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By Louise Miner
Thousands take part in Belgian Pride event

Thousands took part in the 23rd Belgian Gay Pride event in Brussels.

Among them, Turkish LGBT who're escaping the Turkish government.

A 50 year old Turkish man has been living in Brussels for 5 years and says it was very difficult living in his own country. He says, "In Turkey, I was under strain from my family, friends and political pressure. I had some problems in the street and the police did not help me."

Meriç is a 23 year old student and has been living in Brussels since last August. She says the pressure on the LGBT community was constant and intense in Istanbul. "After the coup attempt in Turkey, they announced an emergency state. They also intervened at the demonstration so events became much easier."

A month ago, Amnesty international published a report concerning the degradation of human rights in general in Turkey.

Many Turkish people lost their jobs and many others ended up in prison.

Jenny Vqnderlinden is the Turkey Coordinator at Amnesty International in Belgium and she says, "Turkey was one of the first Muslim countries to allow, for example, the gay pride but today they have banned it. President Erdogan has even said to the press that homosexuality was incompatible with the values of Islam."

The First Vice-President of the European Commission says there are still many things to do to improve the situation. Frans Timmermans says, "You see that we have made an enormous step forward for equality and gay rights but there is also a lot of resistance. There is a lot of conservatism and there is anger against people who are different including gay people. We need to stand up to this."

The colourful event will continue over the weekend.