Police in Istanbul used tear gas to disperse a peaceful crowd of demonstrators who tried to carry out an International Women’s Day march on the city’s pedestrian shopping avenue Istiklal Street on Friday, Turkish media reported.

Police earlier in the evening blocked the roads leading to Istiklal Street, pushing a large number of marchers to side streets, Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Videos on government-critical websites such as T24 and Evrensel showed people coughing and taking shelter in surrounding buildings.

The demonstrators, many of them women, sang and danced for a while in front of the police barriers, demanding to march through Istiklal. Police soon intervened.

Authorities have previously allowed the march on Istiklal Street after a state of emergency took effect in the wake of a failed coup attempt in 2016. The state of emergency ended in July of last year.
In the Turkish capital, Ankara, a similar march went ahead on Friday evening without any reported problems.