08/08/2006 | Writer: KAOS GL

Turkish Daily NewsAngry crowd ensures gay march in Bursa is canceled after protests

Police have been forced to cancel a planned demonstration by gay rights
activists in Bursa after anti-gay protesters took to the streets to
scupper the march.

Hundreds of football club Bursaspor supporters lined the route of the
planned demonstration and threw stones at the offices of the local
homosexual association, Gokkusagi (Rainbow).

Police ordered the demonstrators to remain inside the Gokkusagi building
until the protestors dispersed. At first, the police said the march was
delayed by one hour. Bursaspor supporters at first believed the march was
cancelled and dispersed, but when they realized it was just postponed,
they returned. Police were forced to cancel the march.

Organizers claimed the police had failed to take adequate measures to
ensure the march could go ahead.

Gokkusagi was founded in March this year to support gays, lesbians and
transsexuals. The Bursa Governor's Office filed a complaint against the
association, accusing it of promoting immoral actions. In reaction, the
group called for a nationwide campaign, which was supported by similar
groups around the country. The group asked for permission for a protest
march in Bursa and the Governor's Office approved it in the name of
freedom of expression.

Gokkusagi's president, Omer Evren, speaking at a press conference, said
they would file a complaint against the Bursaspor club, promising to stage
an even bigger march next year.

"The police could have taken the required measures, but they didn't. They
even sought to dissuade us from holding the event," Atilla Demir, an
activist from the Ankara-based KAOS-GL gay rights advocacy group, told
Agence France-Presse by telephone from Bursa.

"There was absolutely no help from the authorities, which clearly
demonstrates how homosexuals are regarded in Turkey," Demir said.

The demonstration was organized to denounce legal action by the Bursa
governor seeking the closure of Gokkusagi on grounds its activities did
not comply with morals and family values.

On Saturday, the leader of a local football fan group had called on
residents to prevent the march, saying, "Bursa, once the capital of the
Ottomans, cannot be identified with such people," the Anatolia news agency

In Turkey, same-sex relationships have never been criminalized as in other
Muslim countries.

Turkish gay groups complain that the European Union, which Turkey is
seeking to join, has failed to lend them adequate support and have called
on Brussels to speak out in favor of their struggle for equal rights.

Original Link: Turkish Daily Newspaper

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