New Year celebrations protested in Istanbul’s Beyazıt
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
CİHAN photoA Muslim youth group has held an “anti-Santa” rally in Istanbul, a city where, ironically, Christians ruled hundreds of years ago. The Istanbul University branch of the group, Anatolia Youth Association (AGD), held a rally on Dec. 30 at Beyazıt Square. Around 100 people held posters against celebrations held during New Year’s Eve on the grounds that it is a Christian tradition. The group dispersed after reading a press statement.
Christmas is celebrated by small number of Christian minorities in Turkey. Many celebrate New Year’s Eve and exchange presents on that day.
The center of New Year’s Eve celebrations used to be Istanbul’s Taksim square in previous years. However, Istanbulites now prefer Nişantaşı or Beşiktaş for street celebrations rather than Taksim due to the increased number of sexual harassment incidents in the area.