Turkish police stepped in to break up a peaceful gay pride parade over the weekend.

Police fired rubber bullets at a group of activists in Istanbul on Sunday afternoon (June 25), 24 hours after the city banned gay pride following claims officials were concerned about public safety.

There was a heavy police presence as a small group of activists formed, and at least four people ended up being arrested.

This year marked the third successive time that pride celebrations have been banned in the city, despite the last event in 2014 attracting thousands of visitors.

“We are not scared, we are here, we will not change,” the Pride committee said in a statement on Sunday. “You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it.

“We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride. We are not alone, we are not wrong, we have not given up.

“Governors, governments, states change and we stay. Threats, bans, pressures will not deter us … We will not give up,” they added.

While being gay is legal in Turkey, the LGBT+ community still face harassment.

Once a bastion of gay rights in the Middle East, Islamist-leaning President Erdogan has been accused of moulding Turkey in his image and ostracising the  liberal side of the country with his views.