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Turkey detains students and supporters because of LGBT flags

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ISTANBUL (AP) – Police in Turkey have detained dozens of people who gathered in front of a courthouse on Friday in solidarity with 12 students detained for unfurling rainbow flags, Turkish police reported. The arrests came amid growing government intolerance of the LGBT community.

Students and professors at Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University have been protesting regularly since January against the appointment of a new rector, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is linked to Turkey’s ruling party. Police and demonstrators clashed several times.

The 12 students were detained on Thursday after they displayed the flags of the LGBT rights movement during a protest. They condemned the appointment of the rector, as well as Erdogan’s decision to withdraw Turkey from a European pact aimed at protecting women from violence. Government officials claim that the Istanbul Convention “normalizes homosexuality.”

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing 42 protesters by truck.

The 12 students were later released on condition that they report to the authorities regularly.

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