Police close access to Istanbul’s Gezi Park during New Year’s celebrations
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Police cordoned off Gezi park at around 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 afternoon, only to open it back around 7:30 a.m. in the morning of Jan. 1. DHA photoAccess to certainly Turkey’s most iconic spot in 2013 was closed by the police for the New Year’s celebrations after a group called for a commemoration event for the victims of police violence during the nationwide mass demonstrations that had gripped the country.
Police cordoned off the park at around 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 afternoon, only to open it back around 7:30 a.m. in the morning of Jan. 1.
Taksim Square, with which one of the entries of Gezi Park is adjacent, and the surrounding area is one of Istanbul’s traditional spots where crowds gather at midnight to celebrate the New Year.
Reports say that as many as 10 police buses were dispatched to the vicinity of Gezi Park. Police also deployed armored vehicles and units to the streets that connect with Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue.
A water cannon truck (TOMA) was also deployed to the upmarket Nişantaşı neighborhood, where a festive open-air New Year celebration is being held since a few years.
Gezi Park protesters Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Abdullah Cömert, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, and Ahmet Atakan, lost their lives during the rallies in Turkey earlier this year.
Berkin Elvan’s condition is still life-threatening, as the 14-year-old has been in a coma since mid-June after being struck in the head by a police gas canister as he stepped out to buy bread in Istanbul.
Many call for protests in support of Elvan at Taksim Square were either aborted or faced a police crackdown in the past months.