Istanbul’s rainbow stairs demolished for ‘restoration’

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An iconic rainbow staircase in Istanbul, Turkey has been demolished by local authorities.

The rainbow steps came about in 2013, when retired forestry engineer Huseyin Cetinel attempted to improve the look of the local area.

Though he claimed at the time that the stairs were “to make people smile”, they had become a popular spot with both tourists and the LGBT community.

When the steps were previously mysteriously painted grey in an attempt to obscure the rainbow, activists rallied to re-paint them in rainbow once again.

However, this week the staircase was destroyed entirely – as part of work to restore the area.

Cetinel told the Hurriyet Daily News: “We met with Beyoğlu Municipality as residents of Salıpazarı and said these stairs needed to be repaired. We have been negotiating this for the past year. The municipality accepted our request and promised to reconstruct.

“Infrastructure, including natural gas, electricity and sewage, will be completely renewed. The stairs will then be rebuilt.

“Nobody should worry, the stairs will be painted again and be even more beautiful than they used to be.”

However, anti-government protesters are worried that the iconic staircase may never return.

The group Istanbul Revolution said: “Local authorities claim that stairs were too old and they will be re-built soon. Since we are talking about [government party] AKP, we suspect about their intentions. Let’s hope, this time they are telling the truth.”

The international community recently condemned police action at Istanbul Pride – after videos from the event showed water cannons and tear gas being used against demonstrators.

The United Nations has expressed “deep concern” over recent violence against LGBT people in the country.