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Turkish police fire tear gas in Istanbul to disperse Gay Pride activists

Plainclothes police officers detain LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in Istanbul

Turkish police fired tear gas in central Istanbul on Sunday to disperse dozens of activists attempting to gather to mark the annual Gay Pride week after authorities banned their march.

The Gay Pride march, which had taken place without incident every year since 2003 with the exception of last year, had been called off on Friday, but hundreds of police were still deployed near Taksim Square.

At least seven activists were detained, protesters said, while police chased others into side streets, some of which were shut to traffic.

The Istanbul governor’s office last week said the march had been banned out of concern for public order. Security in the city is already tight after a series of bombings in recent months blamed on Islamic State and Kurdish militants.

But an ultra-nationalist youth group had also threatened violence if the march went ahead, calling it immoral.

Last Sunday, Istanbul riot police used tear gas and rubber pellets to disperse a march for transgender people, which had also been banned.

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