ISTANBUL (CBS/AP) – In stark contrast to the cooperative spirit of San Francisco’s Pride parade Sunday, across the globe in Istanbul, the Pride march was marred by violent clashes with local police.
Turkish security forces doused demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas, and shot the crowd with rubber bullets. Authorities said riot police took action against the crowd when demonstrators began shouting slogans accusing the social conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of ‘fascism’
The gay rights march was violently dispersed after gathering at the city’s Taksim Square, an unusual flare-up as previous rallies had taken place without interference.
Organizers say the Turkish government only barred them from Taksim at the last minute, saying they could not gather there during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Istanbul Governor’s office says no permission was sought for the rally and security forces acted proportionally
Pop singer Lady Gaga and a European rights official are condemning the attacks. A message posted to Lady Gaga’s Twitter account urged Turkish authorities to “celebrate both Ramadan and Pride in PEACE.”
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, also condemned the violence.