After the Istanbul governor banned his city’s gay pride parade, LGBT activists decided to hold a protest instead of marching. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the city and according to reports, police resorted to rubber bullets and pepper spray in order to disperse them.

Istanbul, today

Istanbul, today Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Istanbul police officers fired rubber bullets and used pepper spray on Sunday evening in order to disperse Turks who attempted to gather in the city even though the governor banned the gay pride parade due to security concerns, according to the AFP news agency. However, hundreds of people began marching with signs and rainbow flags shortly thereafter under tight security.

According to AFP, officers arrested at least 12 people, including a photographer who works for the French news agency, for rioting. Between 200 and 300 gay rights activists gathered for the banned parade.

“What is worrying the government is that they are seeing people from the LGBT community,” said Iram, a young LGBT activist. “They don’t want to see them. Instead of marching, we chose to be here at every street corner. I think that we succeeded. I’m sure that love will win.”