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Turkish police stop Istanbul gay pride event with tear gas and plastic bullets

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Turkish police stop Istanbul gay pride event with tear gas and plastic bullets

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Turkish police used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse demonstrators who gathered for a gay pride rally in Istanbul in defiance of a government ban.

The city’s governor had cited security concerns in preventing two annual parades from happening this year.

Earlier this week an ultra-nationalist youth group vowed to stop the march if it went ahead, calling the event immoral.

Dozens of people gathered in support of the LGBT parade just off a major commercial street.

Police called on them to disperse and prevented activists from marching or making statements.

On Friday Istanbul’s authorities said a parade planned for next week would be banned.

Security is tight after several bombings in recent months, blamed on Kurdish militants and the self-styled Islamic State group.

But organisers denounced the ban as a “flagrant violation of the constitution and the law”. Last year police fired water cannon at a gay pride event.

There was a small homophobic protest on Sunday. Anti-gay sentiment remains widespread in Turkey although homosexuality is not a crime.

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