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2017 Pride Month: Istanbul Gay March Banned by City Governor

by Alastair Jamieson /  / Updated 
Eleven activists were put on trial for taking part in last year's pride march, which was banned.OZAN KOSE / AFP - Getty Images

LONDON — Authorities in Turkey on Saturday outlawed a planned LGBT pride march in Istanbul for the third year in a row, citing safety concerns.

The city governor's office said Sunday’s parade, starting from Taksim Square, should not go ahead to protect participants and tourists, and public order.

“Taksim Square and around — the venue for the march ?— is not in the list of spaces approved by the Governor's Office for meetings and demonstrations,” it said in a statement. “At the same time, there are serious reactions from different sections of the society on social media."

 Eleven activists were put on trial for taking part in last year's pride march, which was banned. OZAN KOSE / AFP - Getty Images

The last time the march was permitted, in 2014, it attracted up to 100,000 participants, making it one of largest gatherings for LGBTI rights in the Muslim world.

Event organizers, Istanbul LGBTI, told NBC News there would be a planned alternative activity but details had yet to be finalized.

In 2016, organizers took to the Bosphorus river instead of the city streets, using a hired boat. Activists who attempted to march in the city were put on trial but charges were eventually dropped.

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