Turkish police have violently broken up a gay pride march, according to reports.
Footage made by witnesses shows officers in central Istanbul breaking up the annual gay pride parade.
In one video, made by Twitter user Funda Eryiğit, a lone man holding a rainbow flag is seen standing defiantely before he is knocked off his feet by the spray.
It is currently unclear why police stopped the marchers gathering as the event is well established. REALLY???ED
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”tr” dir=”ltr”>Mis Sokak'a polis saldırısı <a href=”http://t.co/oPqcyCRRl9″>pic.twitter.com/oPqcyCRRl9</a></p>— Funda Eryiğit (@fundaeryigit) <a href=”https://twitter.com/fundaeryigit/status/615155416100700160″>June 28, 2015</a></blockquote>
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But this year the parade coincides with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which could cause upset amongst conservative Muslims.
According to Turkey’s Dogan news agency, police told crowds to disperse soon after gathering, telling them they were not allowed to march.
One witness, Gizem Paksoy, told PinkNews: “I actually have no idea why they started attacking. No warning, nothing.
“They started to use water cannons. People spreaded around and they chased people in the streets.”
Although the country is officially secular under its constitution written in the 1920s, the Islamic ruling AK party is widely perceived as furthering the cause of political Islam in the country.
While homosexuality is legal in Turkey, discrimination is widespread and gay people have few protections.
With events spread over four days including marches, concerts and festivals, Istanbul pride weekend has been dubbed “the largest gay pride event in the Muslim world”.
Additional reporting by AP