ISTANBUL (AP) – An anti-LGBTQ group marched in Istanbul on Sunday, demanding that LGBTQ associations be shut down and their activities banned in the largest demonstration of its kind in Turkey.
Several thousand people attended the demonstration, dubbed “The Big Family Gathering.” Kursat Mican, a spokesman for the organizers, said they had collected more than 150,000 signatures to demand a new law from Turkey’s parliament that would ban so-called LGBTQ propaganda, which they say is affecting Netflix, social media, art and sport permeates.
Hatice Muge, who works as a nanny, came to the gathering from Bursa province.
“People are here for their children, for future generations, despite the rain,” she said, calling on the Turkish government to take action. “They should save the family, they should save the children from this filth.”
The group held banners that read, “Family protection is a national security issue.”
LGBTQ parades have been banned in Turkey since 2015.
Ahead of Sunday’s demonstration, organizers circulated a video showing pictures of past LGBTQ pride marches in Turkey. The video was included in the public service announcement list of Turkey’s media regulator.
The video and the demonstration sparked an outcry from LGBTQ associations and other rights groups. Istanbul Pride organizers called on the governor’s office to ban the event and authorities to remove the video, arguing both were hateful.
ILGA Europe, which campaigns for LGBTQ equality, tweeted that it was extremely concerned about the risks of violence.
“The Turkish state must fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect all its citizens from hatred and violence,” it said.
Amnesty International’s Turkey office said public service announcements listing the event violated Turkey’s equality and non-discrimination principles.
Senior Turkish officials have labeled LGBTQ people as “perverts” who aim to violate traditional family values.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.