Turkey: Istanbul Pride, Turkish riot police fire rubber bullets at LGBT marchers

Turkish police have stifled an LGBT pride march in Istanbul after organisers pressed ahead with the event despite a third ban in three years by authorities. 

Police with riot shields and helmets sealed off entrances to Istiklal Street, where organisers had planned to hold the march before authorities announced the ban on Saturday, citing security concerns after threats from an ultra-nationalist group.

Small groups of people gathered in sidestreets waving rainbow flags, symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. Protesters gathered in the nearby neighbourhood of Cihangir, beating drums and chanting slogans such as “Don't be quiet, shout out, gay people exist!”

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse one group, witnesses said, and detained several people. Officers with dogs also chased activists. Footage posted on the internet also appeared to show them firing tear gas at one location. 

Speaking to AFP, Lara Ozlen, from the march's organising committee, said: “It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right.

“It's been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say 'do not march' just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic.” Read more via Independent