Turkish police detain students protesting colleagues’ detention over rainbow flags

Turkish police on Friday took into custody dozens of students protesting the detention of fellow students for displaying a rainbow flag during another demonstration the day before, AFP reported.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside İstanbul’s main courthouse on Friday in a show of support for friends who were detained for displaying a rainbow flag during another demonstration the day before.

Police cordoned off the area and prevented the students from making a statement to the press, AFP journalists outside the court reported.

The police eventually moved in, wrestling some of the students to the ground as they rounded them up before putting them on a waiting bus.

A lawyer representing the students said 42 people had been detained.

“We are not silent, we are not afraid, we do not obey,” the students chanted as the police moved in. “The rector will leave but we will stay.”

Student demonstrations have been taking place across Turkey’s main cities since January, when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan named Melih Bulu a party loyalist as rector of Boğaziçi University.

The students see Bulu’s appointment as part of Erdoğan’s broader effort to centralize control over universities.

The row intensified after protesters hung a poster near Bulu’s office depicting Islam’s holiest site in Mecca draped in LGBT imagery in late January.

Boğaziçi University’s LGBT club was disbanded after the incident.

Erdoğan last month compared some of the students to “terrorists” and said the LGBT cause was incompatible with the country’s values.

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