‘Where are you, babe?’ Thousands attend Gay Parade in Istanbul

‘Where are you, babe?’ Thousands attend Gay Parade in Istanbul

‘Where are you, babe’ Thousands attend Gay Parade in Istanbul

Participants wave a huge rainbow flag during a Gay Pride Parade in central Istanbul. REUTERS Photo / Osman Orsal

Thousands of activists attended the LGBTI Gay Parade held on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue on June 29, capping this year’s Pride Week.

As in every year, the event was marked by colorful chants and slogans that defied both the political order and social discrimination that the LGBTI community regularly faces.

“Where are you babe?” part of the crowd chanted during the march, while the other answered “I am here babe.”

“Put your legs on your shoulders against fascism,” “We are the soldiers of Freddy Mercury,” “AKP go away, the queers are here,” and “The earth would shake if queers were free,” were other popular slogans used on banners.

“You wanted three children, then you don’t like it,” read the banner of one member of the LGBT families association, in reference to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s well-known instruction to families to have at least three offspring.

The police were again the instigator of moments of tension when they blocked entry to Taksim Square, preventing the march from finishing in the symbolic area. Gezi Park was cordoned off an hour before the start of the march. But some of the activists painted the infamous water cannons (TOMAs) omnipresent on İstiklal Avenue with loving rebellious messages.

Meanwhile, the British Consulate showed its support by raising a rainbow flag on its mast. The 12th Gay Parade ended the annual Pride Week that started with the Trans Pride March on June 22.