Thousands gathered in Taksim to denounce the release pending trial of a police officer accused of shooting a demonstrator in Ankara. Some held banners saying 'We want our killer.' DHA photo
Thousands of protesters gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square on June 25, denouncing the release of a police officer accused of deliberately killing a demonstrator during the Gezi Park protests in Ankara.
The protest that started around 7 p.m. local time was also marked by extreme security measures taken by the police around the Taksim area. The demonstration was only allowed under a heavy riot police cordon.
Police also blocked all roads potentially leading to the area, checking the passengers of private cars at checkpoints.
Journalists, including Daily News staff, have been extensively searched by police officers despite showing their official press cards granted by the Prime Ministry's Press and Information Office. Metro and funicular access to the square was also canceled.
However, police this time did not intervene in the protesters, who held their peaceful demonstration at the intersection between the Taksim Square and İstiklal Avenue. The most recent protest organized in Taksim on June 22 saw an intervention by the police, armed with water cannons and tear gas, which was later justified in the grounds that demonstrators were standing on the roads and blocking traffic.
That gathering aimed to commemorate those who died during the countrywide unrest, and had been carried out peacefully until the intervention, with many of the protesters holding carnations in their hands and offering them to the police.
The outcry over the deaths of protestors has increased, as a police officer, identified as Ahmet Ş., who allegedly shot a demonstrator, was released yesterday by a court pending trial, after the prosecutor argued that the shooting was "within the limits of self-defense."
Ethem Sarısülük, the deceased 26-year-old worker, died last week from his wounds after being shot in the head during a protest in Ankara
on June 1. The ruling prompted a spontaneous demonstration yesterday evening in Kadıköy, on Istanbul's Asian side.
Several other gatherings were also organized in several cities across the country to protest the court's ruling.