Istanbul Pride March 2017
Turkish riot police officers block ways to Istikjlal avenue for LGBT rights activist as they try to gather for a pride parade YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images

LGBT activists in Turkey's largest city were met with police barricades and tear gas as they tried to gather in Taksim Square for a march that had been banned by Istanbul's Governor's Office.

The authorities had said that the march on Sunday (25 June) was banned for safety and public order reasons, due to concern of "serious reactions by different segments of society". Activists announced on social media that they would still gather.

It is the third year in a row that the Governor's Office has banned the march. Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey but activists say they do not have adequate legal protections.

Although police blocked roads and turned away people thought to be associated with the march, demonstrators still held small demonstrations around the city.

Some crowds were dispersed with tear gas, the Associated Press reported, while activists said that plastic bullets had been used against them.

In one neighbourhood, protesters gathered chanting "Don't be quiet, shout out, gays exist!"

Organisers criticised the governor's decision to ban the march again, arguing that the threats against the march should be dealt with. "Our security will be provided by recognising us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom," a statement read.

Reports said that some activists had gone on trial this week after similar scenes in 2016 but all were acquitted.

"Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week has been organized since 1993, ending with a Pride March on Istiklal Avenue since 2003," the organiser's statement said. "This ban is in violation not only of the legal precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, but also of international treaties, legislations in the domestic law and the constitution."

Activists rallied on social media around a Turkish hashtag for 'We March.'

"We would like to underline once more that we are not in a particular place in a particular city but we are everywhere and we do not want our voice to be heard just for one day but we want to speak everyday." the Istanbul Pride committee said.

Istanbul Pride March 2017
LGBT rights activist try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in central Istanbul YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images