Tear gas fills the streets in Istanbul, Turkey as clashes erupt during banned Pride celebrations on June 26, 2016. The violence comes as massive Pride marches were held worldwide. Police reportedly detained at least 19 people.
Tear gas fills the streets in Istanbul, Turkey as clashes erupt during banned Pride celebrations on June 26, 2016. The violence comes as massive Pride marches were held worldwide. Police reportedly detained at least 19 people. AAP Image - NEWZULU - Enrico Mattia Del Punta

Riot police fire tear gas at gay pride march

TURKISH police have fired tear gas at a banned gay pride march in Istanbul.

Amnesty International Turkey human rights worker Begum Basdas captured the moment police opened fire in a video posted to social media. LGBT activists can be seen singing and chanting in a public street in the footage, before police advance and open fire, firing tear gas into the crowd.

Local authorities had banned the pride march, citing security concerns and arguing the state could not guarantee public order if the marches went ahead.

A far-right group known as 'Alerperen Hearths' issued a warning that it would not "tolerate" any marches taking place. In a statement they issued, they said: "To our state officials- do not make a deal with us. Either do what is needed or we will do it. We will take any risks, we will directly prevent the march."

Last week, police broke up a trans pride march in the city. Officers surrounded trans activists and blocked them from marching down their intended route as part of the parade.

However, despite the crackdown, local activists said they still intended to go ahead with today's march as an act of defiance.

Although LGBT communities are not criminalised in Turkey, many say discrimination continues to affect their lives in the majority Muslim country where homophobia prevails among some sections of society.

Last year, police forcibly prevented LGBT marches from taking place, using water cannon to disperse the crowds.

The state argued that the march coincided with the holy month of Ramadan and was therefore inappropriate, as it also falls this year.



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