The police in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul has fired tear gas on a crowd of thousands of women. They had gathered at International Women’s Day at Taksim Square and wanted to hold a march.

Hundreds of riot police officers blocked access to the well-known shopping street ─░stiklal Caddesi. They used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Many women then decided to flee side streets. It is unclear whether arrests have been made or injured.

Some demonstrators wore colorful wigs and masks. They had banners with inscriptions such as “feminist rebellion against male violence and poverty” and “I am born free and will die freely”. The women also chanted slogans like “we do not keep silent, we are not afraid and do not obey”. Video images on the websites of some media that are critical of the Turkish government, such as T24 and Evrensel, showed people who had to cough through the tear gas and sought refuge in nearby buildings. In the capital Ankara a similar march took place without significant problems.

Picture by AFP
Picture By EPA
Picture by AFP
Picture by AFP