Police Homophobia Against Gezi Park LGBT Protesters

Monday, June 17, 2013
After 18 days of nationwide protests over the proposed demolition of Istanbul’s Gezi Park, attention among activists and protesters has turned to the increasingly authoritarian rule of the government. With thousands of people injured and hundreds arrested, the police’s arbitrary and violent intervention in the demonstrations is drawing more criticism both nationally and internationally. Over the last week four LGBT activists were detained in Istanbul, with one physically attacked by police and another three subjected to homophobic slurs.
Nobody is immune to recent police violence
On Wednesday, three LGBT activists who had requested directions from the police were detained without reason. The activists claim they were subsequently humiliated by the police because of their sexual orientation.
Lawyer for the activists, Türker Vatansever, told that the police officers ridiculed the activists, one of whom was wearing a chain that read “LGBT Blok” in reference to the LGBT group present in Gezi Park.
“Two of the activists say they were harassed by the police due to their sexual orientation but that their claims were not kept on record by the prosecutor’s office,” Vatansever said. “The prosecutor suggested the activists go to executive office of the prosecutor if they had any complaints, and then they were released.”
On the speed at which arrests and releases take place, Vatansaver said that this has been intentionally done over the past few weeks to scare the protesters.
Police attack those who help the protesters
A separate incident took place on Tuesday at around 11:30 pm local time when LGBT activist Hasan Yavuz was stopped by the police on his way to offer food and medical help to the protesters. Asked by the police if he was going to aid the “terrorists at Gezi Park”, Yavuz said, “Yes, I’m doing something humane. What’s wrong about that?” The response of the police officers was to push him to the ground and beat him. Yavuz was kept in detention for 4 hours but was not taken to the hospital or the prosecutor’s office. When his lawyers came to the police station Yavuz was then released and filed a complaint against the police that beat him.  

Edited by: Jayson McNamara 

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