Turkish police use tear gas to disperse Women's Day march in Istanbul
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Turkish riot police used tear gas to disperse a few dozen women who remained in central Istanbul after trying to march on Sunday evening to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The women remained at the edge of the city's famous gathering point, Taksim Square, after Turkish riot police blocked a crowd of a few hundred women gathered in the area to march in celebration of the day, Bianet news site reported.
Earlier on Sunday, police stopped the group from entering the main pedestrian avenue of Istiklal Street as part of the annual Feminist Night March, held along the city’s famous avenue since 2003, it said.
The women then marched toward the city's Karaköy district, where they were also blocked by riot police, news site T24 said.
Turkish authorities have placed barriers at the entrance of the street after the Istanbul Governor's Office banned events marking International Women's Day from being held in their traditional venue.
An application to hold celebrations in Taksim Square was made this year but the application was rejected by the Istanbul Governorate, T24 said.
Despite a similar ban last year, thousands of women flocked to central Istanbul to celebrate International Women’s Day to demand greater women's rights and denounce violence against women. Police have responded by firing plastic bullets and tear gas at the crowds of demonstrators.
Taksim holds a prominent position in the history of anti-government protests due to the 2013 Gezi Park sit-in, as well as due to the 1977 Taksim Square Massacre. On May Day of that year, an estimated 34 people were killed after shots were fired from a nearby building into a crowd.