Istanbul security high as gay groups threaten to test march ban

Security services were out in full force in Istanbul Sunday as officials prepared to enforce a ban on organized marches that the city's gay community says is designed to prevent the annual gay pride march.

The ban on public demonstrations starts Sunday and runs through June 26. That coincides with the date of a planned march by transgender individuals set for Sunday, before Istanbul LGBTI + Pride Week officially begins on Monday. The official LGBTI + Pride March is set for June 26.

Istanbul Governor Visap Sahin announced the ban on gatherings on Friday, citing security concerns.

A far-right nationalist group had threatened this year's march, which would be only two weeks after a deadly assault on a gay nighclub in Orlando by a shooter who claimed links to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Nonetheless, many gay activists say they plan to defy the ban.

Police seemed prepared to ensure order Sunday as they set up water cannon and blocked side streets off Istiklal, a central high street.

Last update: Sun, 19/06/2016 - 17:00

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