Pride parade attacked: Istanbul Gay Pride Parade
Published: June 29, 2015
Pride parade attacked: Istanbul Gay Pride Parade, Turkish riot police fired water cannons, rubber pellets and teargas as a gay pride parade in Istanbul descended into violence today.
Police unleashed jets of water in a bid to disperse thousands of marchers in the centre of the city after some began chanting slogans against the conservative president.
Crowds fled from the scene as teargas filled the air during chaotic scenes in the city during what was meant to be a peaceful event.
Hundreds of marchers were chased away from Taksim Square after a police vehicle fired several water cannons.
The scene turned violent when participants – many brandishing rainbow flags – denounced ‘the fascism’ of the conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Police then began to forcefully break up the crowd, with some officers firing rubber pellets into the crowd.
On a fraught day, pro-government protesters attacked a group of journalists covering the event, including an AFP photographer, causing minor injuries.
According to witnesses and the media, police did nothing to stop the attack.
Before the march, police closed off access to Taksim Square, the scene of anti-government protests in 2013 – since which all demonstrations in the area have been banned.
This is the 13th edition of the Gay Pride parade in Turkey, which has been held in the past without major incident.
The parade has been held in Istanbul in previous years, leading some to dub it the largest gay pride event in the Muslim world.
However, this year the timing of the parade coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, something that could cause conservative Muslims to bristle.
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