Massive Turkish police deployment ahead of banned gay pride march

Dozens of Turkish police officers were deployed around Istanbul's Taksim Square on Sunday ahead of public displays planned by supporters of the banned gay pride parade.

The Istanbul Governor Visap Sahin banned the parade citing security concerns.

Organizers and supporters of the march are expected to stage a symbolic public appearance. The parade, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, attracts tens of thousands of people.

Police seemed prepared to ensure order as they set up water cannons and blocked side streets off Istiklal, the 1.4 kilometre central high street.

Trans Pride, which was held a week ago, was also dispersed by riot police.

Last year's parade was also disbanded after police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds because of the overlap with the Islamic holy month Ramadan.

Amnesty International and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, condemned the ban on the march, with both saying that the Turkish government had "to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its participants."

The pride events in Istanbul take place just weeks after a suspected Islamic militant shot up a gay club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people.

Last update: Sun, 26/06/2016 - 15:45

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