ACTIVISTS gathered in Istanbul yesterday despite the city cancelling the Pride march for the second consecutive year over security concerns.

Turkish police fired rubber bullets and used gas bombs to disperse the crowd, Gay Star News has reported.

The governor had banned the parade after numerous threats, citing concerns for safety.

Neo-Nazis had made death threats in the leadup to the event.

“If the state allows it, we will not,” said the head of nationalist youth group Alperen Hearths on television last week.

“Wherever they march, we’ll also go… If we want, our numbers can reach 200,000.

“By popularising homosexuality, they want to destroy the unity of family, stop reproduction, end relations between wives and husbands, and prevent children born in such relations from growing up to be propitious to their land and country.”

As marchers gathered despite the ban, police closed off the parade route and confiscated rainbow clothing and flags.

More than 20 people are thought to have been arrested.

“We are not afraid,” said the LGBTI Honorary Week Committee.

“We are here, we will not change. You are afraid, you will change, you will get used to it.

“We have painted this street with rainbow colours for 12 years, we have spoken the word of freedom, we have lived together and showed the beauty of walking all over the world. We are here again, and now we show that we will fight with determination of our honour.”

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