METU students boycott classes after police intervention on pride parade

Students at Ankara’s prestigious Middle East Technical University (METU) are boycotting classes and demanding the resignation of the university’s rector following a police intervention on campus during the university’s annual pride parade, Turkish news outlet Gazete Karınca reported.

Police on May 10th detained a number of METU students and used tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon on those in attendance at the university’s 9th Pride Parade.

METU students have since been sitting out on classes and calling for Rector Verşan Kök to resign.

Students gathered early Tuesday in front of numerous faculty buildings carrying banners and the LGBT rainbow flag.  The boycott is being supported by some faculty members, Gazete Karınca said.

Students are asking for the university’s administration to stop preventing student bodies and groups from convening on campus and to protect of the pride parade, along with other activities.

Last year, four METU students were detained for carrying a banner bearing caricatures depicting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as various animals. 

In December, the university’s administration banned social events, panel discussions and closed a student-run media centre.