Özkan Arslan - Ümit Türk - Özgür Eren / Istanbul, June 29 () - American pop diva Lady Gaga has slammed the police clampdown on the LGBTI pride parade in Istanbul through her Twitter account, defining the violence as “inhumane.”
The Istanbul Governor’s Office banned the parade at the eleventh hour on June 28, despite the fact the parade has been taking place peacefully in Istanbul since 2003.
Police dispersed parade participants using tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets before the scheduled start of the event at 5:00 p.m.
The crackdown sparked international outcry, as even U.S. pop icon Lady Gaga expressed discontent and called on the authorities to end the “madness.”
The Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week Committee, a group which has organized events throughout pride week, said the parade had “suddenly been banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office using the month of Ramadan as the reason” despite the fact the parade coincided with Ramadan in 2014 as well.
Lady Gaga called on the governor to celebrate Ramadan and pride week simultaneously, in order to set a peaceful example.
“Set an example for people to celebrate both Ramadan and Pride in PEACE, instead of dividing with violence!” she tweeted, using the hashtag “OnurYuruyusu” (“PrideParade” in Turkish).
Turkey’s first pride parade in 2003 was attended by a modest thirty participants. The number soon grew to 50,000 in 2013, the same year as the Gezi Park demonstrations, marking Istanbul’s parade as the largest in Southeast Europe and the Middle East, according to daily Hürriyet.