A woman holds her nose after Turkish police fired tear gas at Istiklal, the main shopping street, in Istanbul, during the International Women's Day, Friday, March 8, 2019. The day has been sponsored by the United Nations since 1975 as millions around the world are demanding equality amid a persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Turkish police use tear gas to disperse women's march

March 08, 2019 - 1:34 pm

ISTANBUL (AP) — Riot police in Istanbul fired tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators who tried to march along the city's main pedestrian avenue to mark International Women's Day.

Thousands of people, most of them women, gathered near Istiklal Street on Friday for a march that police said was unauthorized.

Police had set up barricades at the entrance to the street and fired several rounds of tear gas to push back marchers.

Authorities have restricted protests in the country in recent years, citing security.

Earlier, hundreds of people in Istanbul protested against the imprisonment of women and children in Syrian penitentiaries.

Separately, four female members of Turkey's gendarmerie units rappelled hundreds of feet down from Istanbul's 15 July Martyrs' Bridge and into the waters of the Bosporus.

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