Istanbul's Gezi Park was reopened for the second time yesterday night following a harsh police crackdown to empty the park and to disperse people gathering in Taksim after a decision to close the park on the same day.
The park was opened to public use again at around 11:45 p.m. Around 500 people entered the park following the second opening and shouted slogans to protest the government.Harsh police crackdown empties Istanbul’s Gezi Park, Taksim Square
Riot police used tear gas, water cannon, and plastic bullets to disperse people who had arrived at Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square yesterday night, despite the park earlier being officially opened to public.
A 17-year-old boy was severely injured in the head by a gas canister yesterday on İstiklal Avenue, daily Hürriyet reported. A quarrel had occurred between the protesters and business owners when the police intervened with tear gas.
During the police crackdown, around six gas canisters were fired into the garden of the British Consulate off a sidestreet near İstiklal Avenue. British Consul-General Leigh Turner tweeted a picture showing a gas canister within the grounds of the consulate.
Many people, including members of NGOs such as the Taksim Solidarity Platform and the Turkish Doctors Association, were taken into custody in the crackdown.
Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told television reporters that 37 people were detained, including seven Taksim Solidarity Platform members, after the police began dispersing people from Gezi Park and Taksim Square.
Witnesses suggested dozens of people had been detained, including Mücella Yapıcı,a spokesperson for the Taksim Solidarity Platform and a representative of the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), and Ali Çerkezoğlu, general secretary of the Istanbul Medical Chamber, according to daily Radikal.
A man who was caught on camera firing his gun into open at July 8 Gezi Park protests is currently detained, according to Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu.
Three hours after the reopening ceremony, police closed entrances not only to the park, but also the roads leading to the city center, including Harbiye, Gümüşsuyu and İstiklal Avenue, the most populated point of the city.
The park had been emptied and closed off in a brutal police crackdown on June 15.