ISTANBUL, June 26 (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd who gathered for a pride parade in central Istanbul on Saturday, arresting some of those seeking to participate in an event prohibited by local authorities.
A Reuters TV video showed police in riot gear pushing and dragging people, some waving rainbow flags as they gathered for the event on a side street of central Istiklal Avenue in the city.
About 20 people, including a photojournalist, were arrested, according to media reports.
Turkish authorities have repeatedly banned pride events in recent years. Before that, thousands of people participated in the parade on the streets of Istanbul.
Turkey has long been a candidate for EU membership, but its accession process has dragged on for years amid tensions over various issues, including human rights.
A majority of European Union leaders on Thursday pledged to continue tackling discrimination against the LGBTI community in a joint letter amid a stalemate with Hungary, whose parliament approved a bill last week banning the distribution of material in schools deemed to promote homosexuality or gender change. .
Reporting by Mehmet Emin Caliskan, Umit Bektas and Dilara Senkaya Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Mark Potter
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