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Istanbul police use water cannon and teargas to break up Gay Pride parade

The Istanbul governor's office reportedly decided to ban the event because of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan
A gay couple kisses during the Gay Pride parade on June 28, 2015 in the Istiklal street near the Taksim square in Istanbul (AFP)

Riot police in Istanbul used teargas and fired rubber pellets to disperse thousands of participants in the city's Gay Pride march after some began chanting slogans against the president, an AFP reporter said.

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 who were carrying rainbow flags and placards, with some officers firing rubber pellets into the crowd at what was probably the largest Gay Pride in the Muslim world.

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 Gay Pride parade in Turkey, which has been held in the past without major incident.

Istanbul LGBTi Pride Parade, which first began in 2003, has drawn in many thousands of citizens to the streets for a celebratory affair.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but it still remains a taboo and LGBT individuals face discrimination.