Police use tear gas to disperse locals protesting mine in Turkey’s northeast
ARTVİN - Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoPolice used tear gas on Feb. 16 to disperse thousands of locals protesting a company’s efforts to extract mine in Cerattepe region in the Black Sea province of Artvin.
Protestors, who blocked traffic with their vehicles starting late Feb. 15, threw stones at the security forces in response. The road is still blocked after the police intervention.
Shop owners in Artvin closed their businesses and hung notes on store fronts reading, “If security forces intervene [in] Cerattepe, this shop will [remain] closed.”
Mine company officials, heavy equipment and mining containers have already headed to the region accompanied by riot police and gendarmerie teams from six neighboring provinces. Trucks have also been deployed in a bid to tow the 300 cars and vehicles of protesters that are blocking traffic.
NGOs and opposition party lawmakers have lent their support to the protesters.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Uğur Bayraktan said after the police intervention that the order came from Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
“We were able to convince all ministers but Ala,” he said. “I will meet with him when I go back to Ankara.”
Speaking on behalf of the protesting citizens, Green Artvin Association Head Nur Neşe Karahan said, “We defend our right to live and we will not stand back. The police and gendarmerie protects the company’s vehicles; however, the state should be standing with us.”
Click below for pictures from the protests: