Suspected Islamic State militants arrested in Istanbul for planned attack on Trans Pride

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A gay couple kisses during the Gay Pride parade on June 28, 2015 in the Istiklal street near the Taksim square in Istanbul. Riot police in Istanbul used teargas and water cannon to disperse thousands of participants in the Gay Pride parade in the Turkish city. Police took action against the crowd when demonstrators began shouting slogans accusing the social conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "fascism". AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

The suspects – one Turkish national and two from Russia’s Dagestan republic – were held in custody by an Istanbul court, Reuters reports. Officers were allegedly acting on intelligence reports that the group was plotting to attack the march held in the city’s central Taksim Square. The arrests apparently came after police confiscated suicide vests during raids in two Istanbul suburbs late last week.

Dozens of defiant activists took to the streets of Istanbul to march despite the ban, with over 300 police officers being deployed to the scene in riot gear. A water cannon was also seen at the site of the march. Last year’s Istanbul Pride was forcibly dispersed by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. The governor’s ban on the parade also came after the Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), said that they would prevent the rally. Turkey is still extremely conservative when it comes to LGBT issues, and though homosexuality is legal there, gay people are given no legal recognition – and still face regular persecution.

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