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LOCAL > Police crack down on football fan protest in Taksim over e-ticket system

ISTANBUL

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In scenes that have become sadly familiar in central Istanbul since last year, police resorted to tear gas and water cannon on April 20 to disperse hundreds of football fans gathered on İstiklal Avenue. DHA Photo

In scenes that have become sadly familiar in central Istanbul since last year, police resorted to tear gas and water cannon on April 20 to disperse hundreds of football fans gathered on İstiklal Avenue. DHA Photo

Police resorted to tear gas and water cannon on April 20 to disperse hundreds of football fans gathered on İstiklal Avenue, near Taksim Square, to protest the controversial electronic ticketing system recently introduced by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

Fans from Istanbul’s three arch-foes – Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray – have all denounced the new system, dubbed “passolig,” which will allow security forces to check supporters’ private data when they buy match tickets.

In scenes that have become sadly familiar in central Istanbul since last year, protesters trying to escape from the intense tear gas took refuge inside shops. Several were also detained, according to photos shared on social media.

Turkey’s most vocal supporter group, çArşı of Beşiktaş, has announced that its members will boycott the weekend’s derby match against Fenerbahçe on April 20 evening over the new ticket system.

The system is under fire as most supporters’ groups claim that it is designed to exert greater control over fans.

Produced by Aktif Yatırım Bankası AS, an investment bank owned by Çalık Holding, a business group known for its close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the card will enable the operator to access supporters’ national identity data, bank account details, and other private data. The operator will also be able to share it with the police and the TFF.

Some 40 Turkish supporter groups issued a joint declaration on April 13 calling on football fans not to buy e-tickets and to boycott matches.

April/20/2014

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