Image: Police arrest a participant during the LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled in Istanbul

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Istanbul Police Enforce Ban on Pride Parade

Turkish police deployed in central Istanbul, blocking off a main street and dispersing groups of demonstrators who gathered nearby.

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Image: People paint walls with the colors of the rainbow during LGBT Pride Week in Istanbul

People paint walls with the colors of the rainbow during Pride Week in Istanbul on June 24, 2017.Istanbul's pride march attracted tens of thousands of people in the past, making it one of the biggest in the Muslim world. But in 2015 it was broken up by police and it was banned last year and again this year after threats from the ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group.

Erdem Sahin / EPA
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Image: Turkish police stand guard near Taksim Square during the LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled in Istanbul

Police stand guard near Taksim Square to prevent people from gathering on June 25.Police with riot shields and helmets sealed off entrances to Istiklal Street, where organizers had planned to hold the march before authorities announced the ban on Saturday, citing security concerns after threats from the ultra-nationalist group.

Sedat Suna / EPA
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Image: LGBT supporters march towards Taksim Square in Istanbul

Small groups of people gathered in sidestreets waving rainbow flags, symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride.Above: Supporters march toward Taksim Square. 

Chris McGrath / Getty Images
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Image: Police officers with dogs chase LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade in central Istanbul

Police officers with dogs chase LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for the banned pride parade. 

Murad Sezer / Reuters
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Image: Police arrest a participant during the LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled in Istanbul

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse one group, witnesses said, and detained several people.Above: Police detain a woman.

Erdem Sahin / EPA
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Image: LGBT rights activists gather for a pride parade in central Istanbul

The Istanbul governor's office said it decided to prevent the demonstration out of concern for the security of marchers, tourists and residents.

"The true reason for the reactions towards a march that took place in peace for 12 years is hate," organizers said.

"Our security cannot be provided by imprisoning us behind walls, asking us to hide," they added. "Our security will be provided by recognizing us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom."

Murad Sezer / Reuters
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Image: Police stand guard near Taksim Square during the LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled in Istanbul,

Police stand guard near Taksim Square.

Sedat Suna / EPA
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Image: A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activist as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a Gay Pride annual parade

A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activists.

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
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Image: LGBT supporters run from tear gas fired by police after attempting to march to Taksim Square

LGBT supporters run from tear gas fired by police after attempting to march to Taksim Square.

Chris McGrath / Getty Images
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Image: Participants walks during Istanbul LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled due in Istanbul,

Istanbul has traditionally been seen as a relative safe haven by members of the gay community from elsewhere in the Middle East, including refugees from Syria and Iraq.

But although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.

Above: Participants walk on the street despite the ban.

Erdem Sahin / EPA
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Image: Riot police block the way to Istikjlal avenue for LGBT rights activist as they try to gather for a pride parade,

Police detain a woman.

Yasin Akgul / AFP - Getty Images
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Image:  A participant walks with the rainbow flag during the LGTB Pride Parade which was cancelled in Istanbul

A participant walks with the rainbow flag.

Erdem Sahin / EPA
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Image: Riot police block the way to Istikjlal avenue for an LGBT rights activist as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was cancelled in Istanbul,

Riot police block the way to Istiklal Street.

Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images
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