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LOCAL > Police in Istanbul stage crackdown on protesters denouncing Turkish gov't over graft scandal

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Protesters run away from a water cannon on İstiklal Avenue on Dec 27. AFP photo

Protesters run away from a water cannon on İstiklal Avenue on Dec 27. AFP photo

Police have staged a crackdown on protesters who took to the streets in Istanbul on Dec. 27 to denounce the corruption and bribery allegations against the government over a graft probe that has shaken the country since last week.

In scenes that were reminiscent of the nationwide Gezi protests, riot police fired tear gas and water cannon against a group of protesters who were attempting to gather on Istanbul’s iconic İstiklal Avenue and near the German Hospital in Cihangir, both in central Beyoğlu.

Police also fired rubber bullets against protesters. Many ambulances and fire trucks were seen entering the pedestrian road following the crackdown.

Daily Radikal reporter Elif İnce, who was covering the protests, was among those shot by rubber bullets. She suffered an injury to her femur, but was subsequently able to continue reporting from the scene.

Some of the protesters hurled fireworks and stones to the riot police officers. At least 31 people were detained, including three lawyers, the Istanbul Bar Association said.

HDN

Riot police officers fired rubber bullets on 
protesters who were staging a demo at the
İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul. AFP photo

Footage and photos showed municipality workers closing the street cameras in the surroundings of the Taksim area ahead of the demonstration. 

Protesters, who gathered upon a call that spread via social media, urged the government to resign over the accusations that led to the resignations of three ministers. 

Protesters chanted “Everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption,” reminiscent of the slogan “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance” that became the motto of the Gezi protests. They also shouted slogans like "Catch the thief!" in reference to the corruption allegations.

Police chased protesters as they tried to escape from the narrow streets leading to the Cihangir neighborhood. The streets surrounding the area were affected by intense tear gas, reports said. 

Similar protests were held in Ankara and İzmir where police also resorted to tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Battles between protesters and police were also reported in Antakya, one of the key battlegrounds between locals and security forces during the height of the Gezi protests.

The sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, who handed over their portfolios Dec. 26 after resigning, were among the 24 people who have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation.

December/27/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Black Berry

12/27/2013 10:06:04 PM

Municipal workers closing CCTV cameras is outrageous, on who's orders? Belediye Başkan, Vali, Justıce Minister?

Red Tail

12/27/2013 9:47:28 PM

There was a rather long presentation of this event on BBC world this evening.

Tekir Feline

12/27/2013 9:36:20 PM

It's a pity that the police still defends this unholy and unworthy Government. It was the PM who has chosen bribers, fraudsters, corruptees, and gangsters that helped to thwart UN sanctions for the minister posts, so he is fully responsible. And in democracy the polices job would be to fight corruption and gangsters, not civilians. The fish stinks from the head and AKP became the synonym for organized crime. A pity that these gangsters are in power.

Landos Landos

12/27/2013 9:32:10 PM

I hope these protests grow and grow, until this illegitimate, corrupt and reprehensible regime is driven from power!

K M

12/27/2013 9:11:20 PM

So you can't arrest corrupt officials and businessmen, but you can arrest and harass citizens exercising their democratic rights. And I bes more than a third of Turks are willing to follow tayyip's command not to fight for him but to die.

mara mcglothin

12/27/2013 9:00:01 PM

I guess we are all clear about the allegiance of the police that are left? Right?
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