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Since 2014 LGBTQ+ Pride has been banned in Istanbul, 2022 no different

“We would like to thank our entire network of lawyers and venues that have supported us. We won’t give up, we are not afraid!”

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LGBTQ+ people gather in Istanbul, Turkey & face-off against police defying ban (Screenshot/YouTube EURONEWS)

ISTANBUL – The Beyoğlu and Kadıköy District Governor’s offices which oversee the mega metropolitan area of this ancient city located on both banks of the straits of the Bosporus connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, have once again banned the city’s LGBTQ+ Pride march.

The Governor’s offices announced a ban on all gatherings in both districts, where Pride Week events have traditionally been held, on Monday, June 20, 2022 the Diken news site reported, citing the Turkish Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings.

“We have obtained information that between 21 June 2022 (Tuesday) and 23 June 2022 (Thursday) gatherings, press releases, marches, distribution of leaflets, etc are planned to be held within the scope of the 30th ‘Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week,’” the governor’s statement said.

“All events are banned in all open and closed areas for seven days.”

Had the Pride week march and accompanying festivities been allowed to take place, it would have marked the 30th anniversary of Pride in the megacity.  Istanbul’s LGBTQ+ pride parades, which attracted up to 100,000 people from across the region, have been banned since 2014 , with officials citing security reasons for the ban.

In the past years since the ban first was enacted, Turkish Police and LGBTQ+ activists had clashed with police units firing tear-gas pellets at the crowd along with physically violent arrests.

Turkish police confront LGBTQ+ Pride participants at a café in 2019 (Screenshot/YouTube EURONEWS)

Turkish Media Independent Media/News Outlet Ahval reported Monday that Turkey’s LGBTQ+ groups accuse the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of waging a “hate campaign” against them, encouraging violence against a vulnerable community.

Turkey has ranked second worst country in the European Union for LGBT people, scoring only above Azerbaijan, according the 2022 “Rainbow Europe” ranking compiled by Brussels-based NGO advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, ILGA-Europe.

Less than a week ago in Ankara, Turkish Police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride Parade organized by Middle East Technical University students on their campus.

LGBTQ+ participants of a forbidden gathering in 2019 reacting to tear gas fired by Turkish Police. (Screenshot/YouTube AP)

PinkNewsUK reported that the Istanbul LGBTQ+ Pride Week Committee issued a statement shortly after the announcement, saying that the decision was “illegal” and that they would use “our rights [to] make the necessary objections”.

“Today, with the start of Istanbul 30th LGBTI+ Pride Week, police inspected the venues where the events would take place, under the guise of ‘general control’,” the group said. “The law enforcement officers tried to put pressure on the venues by asking for documents such as tax plates.

“We would like to thank our entire network of lawyers and venues that have supported us. We won’t give up, we are not afraid!”

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Europe

Norwegian suspect in LGBTQ+ bar shooting refuses to cooperate

Large crowds gathered Sunday near the London Pub to lay flowers and other tributes many of those gathered waved Pride flags

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Screenshot/YouTube Norwegian News Services

OSLO, Norway – A spokesperson for the Norwegian Police Service  (Politi- og lensmannsetaten) said that the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting at the London pub in Norwegian capital city’s night-life district is refusing to cooperate with investigators.

The 42-year-old suspect, identified as Zaniar Matapour, is a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran. Two people were killed and more than 20 were injured in what police officials have labeled as an “Islamist terror act.”

Matapour, (left) is shown at the time of his arrest immediately after the shooting on mobile phone video broadcast on Norwegian television.

An official with the Norwegian Police Service told media outlets that investigators tried they tried to question Matapour on Saturday after his arrest and again on Sunday without success.

The Associated Press reported that Matapour’s defense lawyer, John Christian Elden, told the AP in an emailed statement that that his client refused to have his statement recorded and videotaped unless police released the entire recording to the public “with no time delay so it won’t be censored or manipulated.”

Elden previously said to media outlets including the Associated Press his client did not deny being the shooter but had not divulged any motive. The lawyer said Sunday that Matapour did not object to remaining in custody for four weeks so would not appear in court on Monday.

In the Norwegian judicial system pre-trial detention hearings are normally held every four weeks.

Large crowds gathered Sunday near the London Pub to lay flowers and other tributes. Those gathered waved Pride flags as they defiantly commiserated remembering the two victims killed along with the other twenty persons injured in the shooting spree which police say occurred at three locations in the neighborhood around the bar.

The city’s Pride parade had been cancelled as a precaution after the shooting.

 

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and a member of the Royal family, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, joined mourners in a memorial service Sunday at Oslo Cathedral for the victims of the attack.

Speaking in Sunday’s memorial service, the Prime Minister pointed out that “the shooting in the night hours put an end to the Pride parade, but it did not stop the fight and the efforts to fight discrimination, prejudice and hatred.”

Stoere addressed Norway’s Muslim community as well telling them;

“I know how many of you felt when it turned out that the perpetrator belonged to the Islamic community. Many of you experienced fear and unrest. You should know this: We stand together, we are one community and we are responsible for the community together.”

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Europe

Mass shooting in Norwegian capital cancels LGBTQ+ Pride, leaves 2 dead

The Norwegian Police Service are investigating the matter as an act of terrorism. The suspect is a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran

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Inger Kristin Haugsevje, head of Oslo Pride being interviewed after mass shooting (Screenshot/YouTube Global News)

OSLO, Norway – A gunman entered an establishment popular with the LGBTQ+ community in the Norwegian capital city’s night-life district on Saturday morning at approximately 1 a.m. local time and opened fire killing two people and injuring dozens more.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian Police Service  (Politi- og lensmannsetaten) told the Blade in a phone call that officials are investigating the matter as an act of terrorism. According to the official, the suspect is a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran.

Multiple eyewitnesses reported that the suspect had entered the bar and produced a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and started shooting.

A reporter with Norway’s largest broadcast media outlet NRK, Olav Roenneberg, who was on scene when the shooting started, told NRK colleagues in an interview;

“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag- He picked up a weapon and started shooting. First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”

The police official while not confirming the weapon used did acknowledge that the shooter had been known to Norwegian officials in the country’s security services since 2015 as a “suspected radicalised Islamist” and also apparently had a history of mental illness. The official also pointed out that up until the incident there were no previous major criminal acts committed by the suspect.

Because of the incident, organisers of the Pride parade which had been scheduled to start hours after the shooting was cancelled. The parade was set to culminate the week long Pride festivities in Oslo.

Norway’s Prime Minister Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote in a public post on Facebook, “the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.” He added “We all stand by you,” showing support for the country’s LGBTQ+ citizenry.

Norway’s King Harald V issued a statement offering condolences and said he and Norway’s royal family were “horrified by the night’s shooting tragedy.”

“We sympathize with all relatives and affected and send warm thoughts to all who are now scared, restless and in grief,” the Norwegian monarch said. “We must stand together to defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other. We must continue to stand up for all people to feel safe.”

Oslo Pride issued a statement concerning cancelling the Pride parade;

Oslo Pride has received clear advice and recommendation from the police that the parade, Pride park and other events in connection with Oslo Pride be canceled. Oslo Pride therefore asks everyone who has planned to participate in or watch the parade not to attend. All events in connection with Oslo Pride are canceled.

Now we will follow the police’s recommendations and take care of each other. Warm thoughts and love go to relatives, the injured and others affected. We will soon be proud and visible again, but today we will hold and share the pride celebrations from home, says Inger Kristin Haugsevje, leader of Oslo Pride and Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of FRI – The Association for Gender and Sexuality Diversity.

Oslo Pride has close communication with the police and is following the situation, and will provide ongoing information.

The White House reacted to the news of the shooting issuing a statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan;

“The horrific shooting in Norway this morning has been felt around the world. The United States strongly condemns this act of terror. We stand in solidarity with the families of the victims, the diverse and strong LGBTQI+ community of Oslo, our close NATO ally Norway, and all who have been devastated by this senseless act. The United States has been in touch with the Norwegian government and offered to provide assistance. We remain committed to continuing to partner with Norway to advance a more equitable and just world for all, free from violence and discrimination.”

Oslo shooting being investigated as act of terrorism:

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Europe

Burger King’s Pride promotion was a miss, but not rock bottom

Burger King has been in hot water before over ad campaigns that were, by order of magnitude, more offensive and controversial than this one

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The Pride Whopper (Screenshot/YouTube DW)

AUSTRIA—It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gay man who prefers being the receptive partner during anal sex is in want of a good top. When it is time for him to get down to business, another bottom in the room is about as useful as an empty container of lube. 

The concept is so well worn, so axiomatic, that it was a surprise to see an ad agency working for Burger King Austria miss the mark so completely in its Pride themed campaign for the restaurant chain.  

The Pride Whopper was unveiled on June 7 in social media ads featuring two versions of the restaurant’s signature burger – one with two domed and sesame seeded top buns, the other with two flat bottom buns – accompanied by the message, “Time to be proud.” 

Of course, Twitter users were quick to point out that two bottoms or two tops is about as symbolic of pride and about as much a reason for celebration as a spilled bottle of video head cleaner. 

The ad agency, Jung von Matt Donau, issued an apology on LinkedIn Saturday: “The intended message of the ‘Pride Whopper’ was to spread equal love and equal rights. Our strongest concern is if we offended members of the LGBTQ Community with this campaign. If this is the case, we truly apologize.”

The reaction online ranged from confusion and bewilderment to angry messages like this Instagram comment: “WTF. What are you actually DOING to support the community? Aside from this MESS?”

It seems likely that the campaign would have landed better if the joke had worked. A former employee with furniture maker Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams recalled a Pride themed promotion in which the company’s Parsons dining table – whose tops and bases can be interchanged – was featured with the slogan “sexy bottom seeks perfect top” spelled across the showroom windows. 

Burger King has been in hot water before over promotions and ad campaigns that were, by orders of magnitude, more offensive and controversial than this one. 

It was just last year that Burger King UK tweeted, on International Women’s Day, no less, “Women belong in the Kitchen.” The provocative move was intended to draw attention to gender disparities in the restaurant and food service industries, but instead drew ire for reinforcing sexist tropes.

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