Police close Gezi Park during Women's Day demonstrations in Istanbul
Ayşegül USTA - Fırat ALKAÇ ISTANBUL
Police used violence to disperse a group of women from the entrance to Gezi Park during Women's Day demonstrations in Istanbul on March 8. AFP photo
Police prevented a group of women from demonstrating to mark International Women's Day at the entrance of Gezi Park in Istanbul's Taksim Square on March 8.
Around 50 members of an association against the murder of women gathered on the steps entering Gezi Park facing Taksim Square, carrying banners denouncing domestic violence.
Riot police officers used their shields to disperse the women from the park, before temporarily closing it to the public, daily Hürriyet reported.
A police officer in plainclothes approached the spokeswoman of the group while she was peacefully reading a statement and shouted: "You are not allowed to stage a demonstration here. Get out!" footage showed.
Police often block off access to Gezi Park and Taksim Square's central monument at the whim of the province's governor, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, under whose watch police acted with frequent brutality during the Gezi Park resistance. The measures are even taken during demonstrations to mark symbolic events, such as World Peace Day on Sept. 1.
The officer then violently pushed several women down the stairs, as the group refused to disperse and tried to resist the police attach with their banners.
As tension rose, riot police arrived at the scene, surrounding the group and eventually dispersing them with their shields.
The women chanted Gezi Park slogans as they dispersed. After the incident, police temporarily cordoned off the iconic park, which became a symbol of anti-government protests after last year's nationwide demonstrations.
In the aftermath of their violent removal from Gezi Park, hundreds of women gathered at Galatasaray Square before attempting to march on Taksim Square despite a steady downpour and cold temperatures. The demonstrators, who frequently chanted "Tayyip, escape, woman are coming" in Turkish and "Women, Life, Freedom" in Kurdish, advanced as far Zambak Street before they were met by a cordon of riot police and a TOMA. Police used their shields to shove a number of those that had reached the security force's lines before organizational leaders called for a retreat toward Galatasaray.