Turkish officials arrested three men last Friday after being informed that ISIS was planning an attack on the Transgender Pride March scheduled for Sunday, according to a report by Dogan News Agency.
According to the report, Zelimhan Aslanbek, Bekhan Alim Han, and Fuat Güneş plotted to attack the march, and were found to possess suicide bomb vests and military camouflage gear during their arrest. Security officials reportedly said they had information that the three had made runs to ISIS battle lines to deliver equipment. Two of them are said to be originally from the Russian region of Dagestan.
This report could not be independently confirmed, and LGBT activists contacted by BuzzFeed News said they have yet to receive word of the arrests directly from their government contacts.
The Istanbul government banned the Transgender Pride March in an edict issued Friday citing security concerns, and police used tear gas and rubber bullets when organizers gathered on Sunday in violation of the ban. As they attempted to disperse, organizers told BuzzFeed News, they were trapped between police and anti-LGBT groups that were in the surrounding streets in large numbers.
Organizers are currently challenging the ban on pride activities, which also covers the LGBTI Pride March scheduled for June 26, which has drawn tens of thousands in previous years. The government shut down the pride march last year for the first time, announcing that the event was prohibited after the crowds had already assembled and then turning water cannons on participants.
J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211
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