Male and female riot police used shields and tear gas to stop the march moving through central Istanbul
Istanbul (AFP) - Turkish riot police on Sunday fired tear gas and used their shields to halt an unauthorised march in Istanbul marking an international day calling for an end to violence against women.
The police action, launched after several orders for the crowd to disperse, prevented a thousand demonstrators moving along Istiklal avenue, the main shopping thoroughfare in Istanbul.
Protesters responded by yelling "we will not be silent", "we are not afraid" and "we will not obey".
After a tense face-to-face confrontation with police, which lasted nearly two hours, the marchers broke off into side streets to yell their slogans before eventually leaving the area.
Turkish authorities give very few authorisations for public protests, following big anti-government marches that took place in 2013.
Peaceful protests marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women were held in many other cities around the world over the weekend, most of them without police opposition.
"To be a woman in Turkey is to suffer violence from men in all areas of life, whether at work or at home," one demonstrator, Yasemin Esmer, told AFP.
"We're here to cry out our feeling of revolt. We are saying we are stronger when united," said another, a student who didn't give her name.
Violence against women is a recurrent issue in Turkey, where several hundred femicides are recorded each year.
An association, Stop Femicides, counted 409 murders of women or girls last year, and 328 in 2016.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently condemned violence against women. But associations accuse his conservative, Islamic-rooted government of failing to take sufficient measures to stop it.