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Turkish Police Use Water Cannons, Tear Gas to Disperse Gay Pride Parade

Police Forcefully Disperse Gay Pride Revelers in Istanbul 0:53

Turkish police used water cannons and tear gas to clear a gay pride rally from Istanbul's central square Sunday.

Between 100 and 200 marchers were chased away from Taksim Square after a police vehicle fired several jets of water to disperse the crowd.

It wasn't immediately clear why the police intervened to push the peaceful if noisy rally away from the area.

This year, however, the timing of the parade coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, something that could cause conservative Muslims to bristle.

Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that police told crowds to disperse soon after they began assembling, warning them they would not be allowed to march.

Image:
Turkish police use a water canon to disperse participants of a Gay Pride event in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) rights in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, June 28, 2015. Emrah Gurel / AP

The police appeared intent on stopping the crowd gathering near Taksim Square, the cameraman said. Taksim is a traditional rallying ground for demonstrators and saw weeks of unrest in 2013.

The crowd regrouped a few blocks down the street and continued to dance and chant slogans against homophobia without any further clashes.

The rally grew to several thousand people as the day wore on.

While homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey — unlike in several other Muslim countries — homophobia remains widespread.