Massive rally illuminates Taksim as protests continue in Turkey
ANKARA/ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
AA PhotoThe Gezi Park protests entered another day as crowds gathered for a massive rally in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, despite Ankara clashes that had occurred June 9 in the morning hours.
Cities nationwide continued to demonstrate in support of the ongoing protests, but Taksim again became the heart of the movement as thousands gathered for a rally scheduled to take place in the afternoon yesterday.
Cities nationwide continued to demonstrate in support of the ongoing protests, but Taksim again became the heart of the movement as thousands gathered for a rally scheduled to take place in the afternoon hours of June 9.
A stage was set up for the rally in the middle of the square, with protesters designing signs and slogans before it started. The rally, organized by the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which represents the protesters in Gezi Park, was represented by the platform as a response to the failed attempts at resolving the issue through meetings with government officials, namely Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
The platform said their demands had not been met by officials, which prompted the continuation of the protests “that are set to last until all the demands are met.”
Republican People’s Party (CHP) youth branch members were also seen at the park in the early hours of June 9 as they planted a tree honoring Abdullah Cömert, 22, who was killed during clashes in Antakya.
Protests continued nationwide, with crowds filling squares and parks in various cities, including İzmir and Ankara. While demonstrations mostly remained peaceful during the daytime hours, previous nights witnessed harsh clashes overnight in Ankara, with intense police intervention at the city’s Kızılay square.
The crowds, initially gathered at Kuğulu Park, rebuilt tents that had been removed a day before after negotiations with police forces. The groups then moved toward the square, where police forces called on protesters to disperse.
When the 5,000-strong crowd refused to disperse, police attacked them with a barrage of tear gas and water cannons at around 10:30 p.m. Photos of the clashes quickly made it online, and reports of injuries also surfaced. The protests continued until late in the night.
Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced two counterdemonstrations set to take place in Ankara and Istanbul on June 15 and 16. Preparations were also intensifying in the capital earlier in the day on June 9 with the expected arrival of the prime minister, who was scheduled to land in the city following his Mersin visit.