Istanbul riot police break up LGBT rally

'We are Ottomans'

"We are Ottomans," shouted one, according to video of the incident. "We don't want any of those people here."

A group of ultra-nationalists asked the authorities last week to cancel the gay pride parade, saying it would make sure it did not take place if police did not heed the call.

The annual Istanbul parade has taken place for the last 12 years without incident with thousands of people taking part, to become the most important LGBT gathering in a Muslim country in the region.

Sunday's crackdown on the Trans Pride event came a day after police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon to disperse a protest over an Islamist attack on fans of British rock group Radiohead.

On Friday night, a group of about 20 men beat up customers and staff at the Velvet IndieGround music store in Istanbul for drinking alcohol during an event to promote Radiohead's latest album.

Three of the attackers, who were angered by the fact that alcohol was being served during Ramadan, were arrested but released Sunday after questioning.

On Saturday, about 500 protesters took to the streets of the trendy Cihangir district to condemn the store attack, chanting "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism!" and denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "thief" and a "killer."

Turkish authorities have regularly cracked down on anti-government demonstrations since mass protests swept the country in 2013, using tear gas and water cannon against even small gatherings.

Critics accuse Erdogan of growing authoritarianism and of pushing an increasingly conservative agenda in a country where devout Muslims and secularists have long peacefully co-existed.

On Saturday, Turkey's strongman leader vowed to press ahead with the contested redevelopment of Istanbul's Gezi park, next to Taksim Square, which triggered the 2013 revolt by mainly liberal Turks.

A court initially suspended the construction project in the aftermath of the unrest, in which 8 people were killed, but the court later reversed its decision. – Rappler.com