Turkish police chased away a small group of transgender rights activists who attempted to march to Istanbul's main square Sunday while carrying rainbow flags despite an official ban on the event. Seven people were detained.
The rights group Istanbul LGBTI, host of the 8th Trans Pride March, had said on social media it won't recognize the governor's ban. Activists gathered in Harbiye district and in a live statement on Facebook said, "We are trans, we are here, get used to it, we are not leaving."
The organization tweeted "all roads lead to Taksim," using the hashtag "GameOfTrans," but police prevented them from reaching Taksim Square. A water cannon sent to the area wasn't used on the activists.
The Istanbul governor's office banned the march late Saturday for the second year in a row. It said "marginal groups" on social media had called for the march and it was being banned to preserve public order and to keep participants and tourists safe.
The ban also said, "very serious reactions have been raised by different segments of society," in reference to threats by conservative and ultranationalist groups made against trans and LGBT marches. Turkey doesn't criminalize transsexuality, but its civil code requires court permission and forced sterilization for transgender men and women to undergo gender reassignment. Read more via New York Times