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Pride parades marred by clashes and arrests in Turkey

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By Mark Armstrong with AP, AFP
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Pride parades marred by clashes and arrests in Turkey
Copyright  Emrah Gurel/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Clashes broke out in Istanbul as police arrested around 20 people gathered in Taksim Square during this year's LGBT Pride parade in Turkey.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office had refused to authorise the march, citing the "protection of public peace and security, general health and morality."

The Pride Week Committee said police fired rubber bullets and one reporter was beaten while being arrested.

Pride Parades have been banned in Istanbul since 2014 when tens of thousands of people took part in a march through the city.

Elsewhere, including in Paris, there were the usual joyful celebrations, made more so after 18 months of pandemic restrictions, but participants were aware of repression in other places.

"I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of an LGBT person in Hungary right now," explained Yohann Le Calvez. "It's not as easy as in France; we are lucky here. It's quite sad what is happening over there for the people."

The EU's determination to confront Hungary along with Angela Merkel's stance against UEFA's decision regarding displaying pride colours during the Euro 2020 competition helped to boost the mood at Berlin's march.

"What's so remarkable about the UEFA discussion is that it has actually taken something into other circles, namely political circles," said one marcher. "The fact that Angela Merkel spoke out for the first time about legislation in Hungary and said that it was unacceptable."

In Rome, thousands marched in the first pride parade since the pandemic took hold.

The rally was also a show of support for proposed anti-homophobia legislation currently being debated by Italian lawmakers.