Participants in the annual Istanbul Pride march were tear gassed by police on Sunday as they thwarted an official ban on the event going forward and marched anyway. Police dogs were also reportedly used to help disperse the crowd.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office has banned the event from taking place each year since 2016.

100,000 people took part in the march in 2014 but the following year police turned a water cannon on the crowds and the authorities have sought to suppress the event ever since.

Homosexuality has never been illegal in the modern state of Turkey and was decriminalised by the Ottoman Empire in 1858 but homophobic attitudes in the country still persist.

Instead, authorities have cited “security” and “safety concerns” to ban the event from taking place.

Organisers were not even allowed to hold the event in a square in Istanbul that is specially designated for demonstrations and so decided to march anyway.

Police allowed them to make a brief statement to the media and then blocked the street and turned tear gas on the marchers to disperse them.

Amnesty International has called on Turkey to end its “arbitrary ban” on the event, which has been held in the capital since 2003.

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