Crowd gathers in Istanbul’s Kadıköy for special Gezi forums event
People gather in Istanbul's Kadıköy for an event organized in partnership with the park forums that spread across the city in the wake of the Gezi protests. AFP photoThousands of people gathered in the Anatolian-side Istanbul district of Kadıköy today for an event organized in partnership with the park forums that spread across the city in the wake of the Gezi protests.
The crowd denounced the police’s abusive use of tear gas and water cannon against protesters while commemorating the six victims who have been killed during the demonstrations.
The event, called “Come in September for Justice, Freedom and Peace” was scheduled weeks ago, but it took on added significance following three days of police brutality in Kadıköy in the wake of the death of a demonstrator in Antakya on Sept. 10 that touched off a new wave of revolt around the country.
The Taksim Solidarity Platform, a local association which opposed the destruction of trees in Gezi Park, an event that sparked protests that later spread across the nation, were also among those calling for the event.
The crowd, which entered the designated area after being subjected to a detailed search, chanted anti-government slogans and held banners with the portraits of victims and their names. Socially conscious popular artists, such as folk bands Yeni Türkü and Kardeş Türküler, as well as Bulutsuzluk Özlemi and Hayko Cepkin, gave concerts during the event.
The families of one of the first victims to die in the protests, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, also made an appearance during the event.
Turkish riot policemen use plastic bullet and tear
gas during clashes with protestors after a rally
on Sept. 15. AFP photo
Violence, however, returned to Kadıköy’s streets after the concerts ended in the evening, as riot police fired water cannon to disperse a group of protesters that had gathered at the transport node of Söğütlüçeşme.
Policemen then chased demonstrators down the narrow streets of Bahariye, reportedly resorting to tear gas and rubber bullets in high quantities.
Social media users reported that several people had been injured. Some demonstrators were also seen being detained in pictures taken by photojournalists, including İMC TV’s Gökhan Biçici, who was famously dragged into detention in June during the onset of the Gezi Park protests before being released.
The popular district, where demonstrations had been held without incident since the end of May, witnessed fierce police attacks for the first during three days of protests between Sept. 11 and Sept. 13.
During the three days, the crowd protested the death of 22-year-old Antakya resident Ahmet Atakan during a demonstration in support of students in Ankara opposed to a road construction that will cross Middle East Technical University’s (ODTÜ) leafy campus.