Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse LGBT activists in Istanbul who gathered to mark the end of Gay Pride week, after authorities banned the annual Pride parade. At least 19 people were detained, including German Green politician Volker Beck and a Green member of the European Parliament, Terry Reintke.

Istanbul Pride 2016
Riot police use rubber bullets to disperse LGBT rights activists who tried to gather for the banned pride paradeMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Officers fire rubber bullets and tear gasOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
People run as police begin dispersing the rallyOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
A woman suffers from the effects of tear gasOzan Kose/AFP

Istanbul's governor banned last week's Trans Pride March and the broader LGBT pride parade, citing security concerns in the city, which has been hit by deadly attacks by Islamic State militants or Kurdish rebels. Turkish Islamist and ultra-nationalist groups had also threatened counter-demonstrations to stop the gay rights rallies. However, activists believe authorities are using security as an excuse to ban the gay parades. They say the government they should be taking measures to deal with the threats instead.

While homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey – unlike in many other Muslim countries – homophobia remains widespread. Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted AK Party he founded have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.

Istanbul Pride 2016
A woman holds a rainbow umbrella Ozan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
The authorities cited security concerns for banning the parade, as a woman demonstrates on Istiklal AvenueOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
Riot police officers detain a womanOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
Riot police pass a rainbow flag as they chase LGBT rights activistsMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Police wearing gas masks chase after LGBT demonstratorsOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
Police advance furtherOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
Demonstrators fleeOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
A photojournalist stands amid clouds of tear gasOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
People cover their faces after tear gas is firedOzan Kose/AFP
Istanbul Pride 2016
Terry Reintke, a member of the European Parliament from the German Green party, is detained by policeMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Plainclothes police officers detain Felix Banaszak, a member of the German Green partyMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
German Green Party politician Volker Beck, centre, is caught up in the demonstrationMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Plainclothes police officers arrest people who tried to gather for the pride paradeMurad Sezer/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Plainclothes police officers detainin a manOsman Orsal/Reuters
Istanbul Pride 2016
Another man is detainedOsman Orsal/Reuters

Historically the gay pride parade in Istanbul – a city seen as a relative safe haven by members of the gay community from elsewhere in the Middle East, including refugees from Syria and Iraq – has been a peaceful event. However, in 2015 police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse participants, after organisers said they had been refused permission because it coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, as it does again this year.