Authorities in İstanbul have banned the “Queer Olympix,” organizers said Saturday, becoming the latest pro-LGBT event to be cancelled in Turkey, AFP reported.
Some 130 participants were to compete in the third annual Queer Olympix this weekend in sports including football, beach volleyball and long jump, volunteer organizer Elif Kaya said.
However, when they went to start setting up the event in Kadıkoy on the Asian side of İstanbul on Saturday, “we saw police and two water cannons,” Kaya said.
“We were told we did not have permission to hold our event,” she told AFP.
It is the first time the event, which began in 2017, has been cancelled by authorities.
The organizers said in a statement on Instagram that the event was banned by “the Kadikoy district governorate as a precaution against the provocations that may occur due to social sensitivities.”
“The reason given is to prevent possible crimes; to protect public health, public order, and public morality.”
Numerous LGBT events have been banned in recent years, including the gay pride march in Istanbul, which had been running smoothly since 2003 and attracting tens of thousands of people until it was indefinitely cancelled in 2014.