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LOCAL > Harsh police crackdown empties Istanbul’s Gezi Park, Taksim Square

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Riot police used tear gas, water cannon, and plastic bullets to disperse people who had arrived at Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square July 8. AA photo

Riot police used tear gas, water cannon, and plastic bullets to disperse people who had arrived at Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square July 8. AA photo

Riot police used tear gas, water cannon, and plastic bullets to disperse people who had arrived at Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square yesterday night, despite the park earlier being officially opened to public.

A 17-year-old boy was severely injured in the head by a gas canister yesterday on İstiklal Avenue, daily Hürriyet reported. A quarrel had occurred between the protesters and business owners when the police intervened with tear gas.

During the police crackdown, around six gas canisters were fired into the garden of the British Consulate off a sidestreet near İstiklal Avenue. British Consul-General Leigh Turner tweeted a picture showing a gas canister within the grounds of the consulate.

Many people, including members of NGOs such as the Taksim Solidarity Platform and the Turkish Doctors Association, were taken into custody in the crackdown.

Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told television reporters that 37 people were detained, including seven Taksim Solidarity Platform members, after the police began dispersing people from Gezi Park and Taksim Square.

Witnesses suggested dozens of people had been detained, including Mücella Yapıcı, a spokesperson for the Taksim Solidarity Platform and a representative of the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), and Ali Çerkezoğlu, general secretary of the Istanbul Medical Chamber, according to daily Radikal.

The Istanbul Medical Chamber confirmed the detentions in a written statement yesterday, putting the total number of detainees at 35. It also said the TMMOB provincial coordination committee secretary, Süleyman Solmaz, and one of its members, Dr. Kamil Tekerek, were among the detainees.

Taksim Solidarity Platform members Erkan Baş, Ongun Yücel, Ender İmrek, Beyza Metin, Akif Burak Atlar and Haluk Yüksel were also detained, according to daily Hürriyet.

During the operation, an unidentified man opened fire into the air in İmam Adnan Sokak near İstiklal Avenue and the police are searching for him, daily Hürriyet reported.

Gezi Park had been emptied and closed off in a brutal police crackdown on June 15.

Three hours after the reopening ceremony, police closed entrances not only to the park, but also the roads leading to the city center, including Harbiye, Gümüşsuyu and İstiklal Avenue, the most populated point of the city.

After the police intervention, Gov. Mutlu criticized the Taksim Solidarity Platform’s calls to gather in Gezi Park on Twitter.

“Many calls are being made to occupy the park and make it an avenue for unpermitted demonstrations,” he tweeted, later telling television reporters that the park would remain closed for as long as the protests continue.

“Gezi Park is open. But unfortunately, it will remain closed as long as the incidents and problems continue. We don’t demand this. It cannot be approved that the demonstrators are turning the park into a place of unrest,” said Gov. Mutlu, according to Doğan News Agency video footage.

July/08/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Ali Kanat

7/9/2013 12:29:10 PM

The park should be open to anybody who can produced evidence of AKP membership. Simple.

sarikaya visali

7/9/2013 10:40:48 AM

Tweeting a picture showing a gas canister in Istanbul seems bigger news than pictures of military snipers on the roofs in Cairo and tear gas intervention are more violent and brutal in Taksim than real bullets carnage outside Republican Guard building in Cairo. Welcome to the wold of the free.

Selim Bisevac

7/9/2013 9:39:54 AM

People end this Turkey is a great country and a fast growing economy. Don't be baited by the minority groups...

Brian Irlanda

7/9/2013 9:06:04 AM

The AKP has lost it's way. They are in a panic situation now and cannot see straight. I am just glad that there are elections there soon and they will surely learn a big lesson. I feel sorry for all those young policemen who though they are doing what their bosses tell them to do will be hated by the people. It is not right to attack the same people who's taxes are paying your salary!

Çılgın Kanarya

7/9/2013 8:27:49 AM

Thanks once again Mara. And exactly, Scandi Navian! It's pretty hard to sneak a tent past security, & it's not like you can conceal one in your pocket! Nobody has any interest in staying the night in a tent anyway, as that was only to protect the park from being bulldozed, the threat of which has now been lifted. Mutlu & his lying bunch of fellow dictators know this very well, & the truth is that they are simply frightened to death of anit-government chants emanating from the park. Just pathetic

Richard Wyatt

7/9/2013 8:21:35 AM

And the British Consulate is quite a distance from Gezi Park. Sounds like the police are doing a fine job clearing Beyoğlu of tourists.

Sophie Abard

7/9/2013 7:37:14 AM

Black Berry: God works in misterious ways! :) I just wonder why the police feels it has to have so many plain cloths officers in the street (well equipped with masks and hand-held gas bombs)? Where have we seen something like that? England, the US? Or was it the good old times in Rumania, Poland, the Check Republic? I wonder!

Basil Keilani

7/9/2013 1:44:21 AM

I left an hour before anticipated violence and me and a friend who were not even protesting we're asked to leave by a guy with a walkie talkie. The park was briefly opened for propaganda reasons only. then people were told to leave.

e halil

7/9/2013 12:43:20 AM

"...it will remain closed as long as the incidents and problems continue." what is difficult to understand people, police tell you to move you dont, then you say the police pushed us, you climb on police cars, then you fall and say the police injured us. look at the gazdanadam festivali, if you want to say thing do it like them, dont use provocations.

Black Berry

7/8/2013 10:53:33 PM

"Gezi Park is open, but unfortunately it will remain closed........." you can't have it both ways old chap, now which is it? Are you out of your depth? You sound like the man who said the TOMA trucks had medicin in the water.
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