Police fire water cannon & rubber bullets at gay pride Istanbul parade (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse LGBT rights activist before a Gay Pride Parade in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 28, 2015.(Reuters / Kemal Aslan)
Turkish police fired water cannon and rubber bullets at people gathered for the annual gay pride parade in central Istanbul, Reuters reported, citing its journalists there. Images of the dispersed LGBT crowd also emerged on social media.

Authorities have warned people gathered for the parade to clear the area, informing them they won’t be allowed to march, Reuters reported, citing Turkey's Dogan news agency.

The police tried to stop the crowd gathering near Taksim Square, a Reuters cameraman who was at the scene, said. The location is a favored spot not only for local demonstrators, but also for tourists.

The police tried to stop the crowd gathering near Taksim Square, a Reuters cameraman who was at the scene, said. The location is a favored spot not only for local demonstrators, but also for tourists.

Plainclothes police officers disperse LGBT rights activists before a Gay Pride Parade in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 28, 2015.(Reuters / Huseyin Aldemir)

The organizers of the annual event, the Istanbul LGBT Pride Committee said on Facebook the rally had been banned by the authorities, who cited the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as the reason.

"The 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade scheduled to take place at 17:00 in Taksim has suddenly been banned by the Governorate using the month of Ramadan as the reasoning without any announcement," its Facebook post said, adding that the organizers are calling for Istanbul’s authorities "to immediately cease attacks and to make a public statement."

Unlike in other Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey and gay parades have been held in Turkey’s biggest city before. The first gay pride parade was held in Turkey in 2003, the Hurriyet Daily News reported. Just 30 people attended that event, but the number soared to some 50,000 in 2013.

LGBT rights activists run as riot police use a water cannon to disperse them before a Gay Pride Parade in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 28, 2015.(Reuters / Huseyin Aldemir)