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Police Enforce Ban on Istanbul Pride March

  • VOA News

Riot police disperse LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 25, 2017.

Turkish police stopped protesters and attempted to disperse those marching for LGBT rights in Istanbul Sunday, a day after the governor banned the march.

The French press agency, AFP, reported rubber bullets being fired to break up the crowds.

Organizers of the march had vowed to gather in Taksim square despite the event being banned by the Turkish government for the third year in a row.

"We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride," the Pride Committee said in a statement Sunday.

On Saturday, the governor's office announced it would not give permission to the parade organizers out of concern for the safety of the marchers and tourists in the city.

It said a number of groups had “serious reactions” to the march, which was planned to coincide with the first day of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Fitr, and urged citizens against continuing with the parade in violation of the ban.

The march was cancelled last year after bombings by the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants raised security levels. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse people who marched in spite of the warnings.

Unlike some other Muslim countries, there is no law in Turkey forbidding homosexuality. The parade has been held since 2003, and drawn peaceful crowds of more than 100,000 people.

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