LOCAL > Police intervene at Istanbul's Taksim Square, enter Gezi Park


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People run as riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15. REUTERS photo

People run as riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15. REUTERS photo

Police intervened once again in Istanbul's Taksim Square using tear gas and water cannons yesterday evening to quell the protesters an hour after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ultimatum to evacuate the Gezi Park before June 16. 

Ambulances were seen entering the park following the intervention. Police have also entered the park for the first time after two weeks. Security forces took over the park, demolishing the tents of the protesters. Dozers worked to clear the remaining barricades around the park. Protesters had started a few hours earlier to remove the barricades standing at the entrance of the park following hours of discussion on their next move. The police have also cordoned off the Taksim Square.

The İstiklal Street ascending the Taksim Square is filled with a large crowd with water cannon trucks waiting at the Taksim entrance. A tiny barricade was removed by the police. A separate group and police clashed in Harbiye side of the park.

Police encircle Divan hotel

Ambulances have also started picking injured people up from Divan hotel at the Harbiye entrance of the park, which has been used by the protesters as a health center from the beginning of the protests. Protesters sang the national anthem in a bid to prevent police attack on the hotel.  

Amnesty International’s Turkey Director Murat Çekiç said that police tried to break the doors of the Divan Hotel. Injured people tried to reach the upper floors, he added. A few minutes after, live footage showed police encircling the building and throwing tear gas inside the doors of the hotel.

The Istanbul Governor’s office said 44 people were injured and none were in severe conditions. However social media users have reported that many injured were attended by doctors and volunteers all around the Taksim Square.

Police also fired tear gas against the volunteer doctors, the general secretary of the Turkish Medical Chamber Ali Çerkezoğlu said via Twitter. “Turkey will live its darkest night if this attack lasts for more than one hour,” he also said in a televised interview. 

The riot police stationed in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center made announcements before the intervention asking protesters to disperse from the park.   

There was a vast crowd, including kids and elderly people in the park, only minutes before the police raid. 

PM feels cheated: AKP spokeperson

The ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Spokeperson Hüseyin Çelik said that the police evacuation could not have waited until tomorrow. He also slammed the representatives of the Taksim Solidarity Platform that met with Erdoğan two nights before for not announcing the end of the protest during their morning statement. “A country’s prime minister will meet you for 10 hours, you will reach an agreement then say something else behind his back. Wouldn’t you feel cheated [if you were in his shoes]?” Çelik told private broadcaster Habertürk.

Following the late night meeting on June 13, the government gave the assurance that it would comply with a court decision that suspends the redevelopment plans for Gezi Park.    
The protesters had earlier decided to stay in the park despite the assurances, but nevertheless cleared the park from barricades and political banners. 

The Taksim Solidarity Platform, which launched the protests two weeks ago, had also called for a mass meeting tomorrow at 4 p.m.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

6/16/2013 7:50:42 PM

JOBS These people were NOT hippies!! They are prominent business men and women, educated upwardly mobile citizens and many voted for the AKP in the past. Now RTE has made his bed, and now he will have to sleep in it!. Very sad for Turkey. There was such an opportunity for the AKP to make the country more democratic then it had ever been in the past, but they chose to play tit for tat and now turmoil will ensue.

frank sweeney

6/16/2013 7:15:53 PM

the protesters will have to leave eventually ....they have done a good job showing up this regime especially in regards their position on the EU....well done keep fighting for freedom from religion and other forms of repression

Jobs jon

6/16/2013 3:24:24 PM

Will these hippies go home or go to pubs, get drunk there and let others do good works for the country?

Roger Harding

6/16/2013 1:01:02 PM

Tayyip, It is not Allah, but tear gas is great.

Imad Hani

6/16/2013 12:37:51 PM

I bet some surrounding countries as well as Israel have a hand in this , they would not like to see a peaceful yet strong Turkey

piron ilios

6/16/2013 12:13:50 PM

my sincere love for your people and deep sorrow for the victims.from crisis hit greece

Sam Adam

6/16/2013 12:07:17 PM

Democracy must guarantee the freedom of expression that includes the right to have a peaceful protest. However, indefinite camping out in a public place, setting up barricades, and/or refusing to cooperate with the law enforcement institution is not freedom of expression. Law and order is a vital part of democracy without which the very democratic process will be in question.

Foreigner .

6/16/2013 12:00:16 PM

You know something is wrong when Western capitalist support and sponsor extreme left and PKK (according to banners and slogans) to destabilize Turkey. Question is are the CHP supporters so blind to see this and for the lack of political vision and program options of their party, and also knowing they'll not win elections - they'll endorse damaging the country & nation. CHP, Western countries and provocateur commentators, Syria, Iran are the only party calling / hoping for protests to continue!

Imad Hani

6/16/2013 11:46:46 AM

PM Erdogan has put Turkey among the best countries in 10 years time. those demonstrators want to ruin it all and go back to where Turkey was 10 year sago , it is a real shame that some for individuals with agendas and benefits can ruin the whole country

John of hampshire

6/16/2013 10:54:51 AM

Love the use of your English While troops water cannon fire tear gas beat mercilessly unarmed young and old alike you say in your headline: "The police intervene" surely a phrase that is the master of understatement. More like Troops storm Gezi Park beating protester's indiscriminately. A shame you have to be so contrite looking over your shoulders for the State Police in case them take offence However congratulations "Daily News you are a beacon of light in a land of ever encroaching darkness.
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