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WATCH: Istanbul Pride Revelers Attacked By Police With Water Cannons, Tear Gas

WATCH: Istanbul Pride Revelers Attacked By Police With Water Cannons, Tear Gas


Police in the Turkish city turned water cannons at people celebrating Pride, and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them.


Turkish police violently broke-up a gay pride march, according to reports and as shown in stunning video recorded by witnesses.

In the pictures posted on social media, officers in central Istanbul are seen clearing the streets where the annual gay pride parade traditionally steps off.

In one video, made by Twitter user Funda Eryigit, a lone man holding a rainbow flag is seen standing defiantly in front of police, before he is knocked off his feet by the spray.

One witness, Gizem Paksoy, told PinkNews: "I actually have no idea why they started attacking. No warning, nothing.

"They started to use water cannons. People spreaded around and they chased people in the streets."

The Associated Press reported between 100 and 200 protesters were chased away from Taksim Square as they began gathering in the late afternoon.
Police hemmed the demonstrators into a small corner of the square and then fired several jets of water to force them down a side street. Turkey's Dogan News Agency says rubber pellets were also used. An Associated Press reporter at the scene occasionally smelled tear gas, but there didn't appear any further attempt by police to interfere with the protest.
Within minutes, the noisy but otherwise peaceful rally restarted a few blocks away and grew to several thousand people as the day wore on.

Although the Dogan news agency reported that police originally told crowds to disperse and that they were not allowed to march, the Independent reports it's unclear why police stopped them from gathering in Taksim, as the event is well established.

However, this year the parade coincides with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which the newspaper notes could be upsetting conservative Muslims.

Turkey is officially not governed by religious authorty under its nearly century-old constitution, but the Islamic ruling AK party is widely perceived as sponsoring the spread of political Islam nationwide.

While it is legal to be gay in Turkey, discrimination is widespread and gay people have few legal protections.

Istanbul pride weekend is known as "the largest gay pride event in the Muslim world," with events spread over four days including marches, concerts and festivals.

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