Police disperse teachers’ protest in Ankara, detain 100
Police officers detain a protester during a demonstration in Ankara. AA photo
More than 100 people were detained Dec. 20 following a police crackdown on a demonstration in central Ankara organized by a teachers’ union.
The demonstrators gathered in the morning in the Turkish capitol’s Tandoğan Square upon a call from teachers’ union Eğitim-İş to demand “Respect to Secular Education and Labor.” Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protestors when a group reportedly insisted on marching towards Kızılay.
More than 100 protesters, most of whom were members and executives of the union, were detained.
Mehmet Balık, head of the union’s Antalya branch who was being kept in custody at the police headquarters for interrogation, said that the police crackdown came without a warning.
“We arrived in two buses from Antalya in the Tandoğan .Square around 10:30 a.m.” said Balık. “The police attacked with TOMAs [ant-riot vehicles with pressurized water cannons] and tear gas without any warning. They soaked down the group, which also included children and the elderly.”
Balık said they were only guilty of “defending the homeland’s unity and protesting the thieves.”
“We stood up for the rights of our teachers and civil servants, but we were the victims of a police attack without any warning,” he added.