Social Media Watch: International Pride Parade Recaps 2015


Many corners of the world saw Pride Month – celebrations dedicated to commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City – culminate in gay rights parades, parties, and events this past weekend. In America, especially, people celebrated the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling that made gay marriage federally legal. Check out a few other noteworthy international events below.

Istanbul, Turkey

The Turkish government unexpectedly announced that it would ban Istanbul Pride, the city’s annual parade, due to Ramadan this year. Crowds gathered anyway – rainbow flags and signs in tow – and were met with a forceful police force. Police fired water cannons, tear gas, and even shot plastic bullets into the crowds in response. Despite the violence, smaller crowds took to side streets to continue with celebrations.

Apparently, the government had announced the ban seemingly out of nowhere. The LGBTI Pride Week Committee posted on Facebook, saying that the parade “had suddenly been banned by Istanbul Governor’s Office using the month of Ramadan as the reason without any announcement.”

Although homosexuality remains a taboo topic in Turkish culture, it isn’t illegal – and the annual parade has been taking place in the city since 2003. In fact, last year’s pride parade occurred during Ramadan, too, and nearly 100,000 people attended. This fact left this year’s parade-goers confused by the government’s announcement.

Twitter saw a flood of critical responses to the Turkish police’s handling of the situation.


Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia’s capital, was the first post-Soviet country to host a EuroPride parade this year, and many feared that the event would be met with protests or even violence. But nothing of the sort took place, save three isolated, minor offences.

About 5,000 people attended the event on Saturday, including Stuart Milk, nephew of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. The police force at the event was also huge – no doubt due to concerns about possible protesters.


Seoul, South Korea

On Sunday, Seoul saw about 6,000 celebrators come out for its hour-long parade. It also saw a number of Christian protesters. They chanted slogans and waved banners reading “Hell is upon you! Repent!”

Church groups hold a good amount of social and political power in the country, and some, including the Christian Council of Korea, urged the city council to ban the parade. The police tried to do just that due to public safety concerns, but a Seoul court overturned the ban.

At the pride parade, Kang Myeong-jin, chief of the parade organizing committee, rallied the marchers. “All of us have come here today to fight against these voices of hatred towards us,” Myeong-jin said. “It has been a long and tough road… but I’m very happy that the parade was held successfully.”


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