Police close Istanbul Gezi Park ahead of support demo for ODTÜ
Police evacuated Gezi Park and parked a water cannon truck (TOMA) at its entrance, ahead of a demonstration in Taksim on Sept 6. HÜRRİYET photo, Seyit ERÇİÇEKIstanbul police again closed Gezi Park on the night of Sept. 6, following calls for a demonstrations in support of students at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), who have been opposing a road project that will lead to the demolition of a forested area on campus.
Police evacuated the park after a group of demonstrators who had gathered on the Asian shore of Istanbul crossed the Bosphorus. A water cannon truck (TOMA) was seen at the entrance of the park from Taksim Square.
Protests in Taksim continued late into the evening, with reports that police had attacked demonstrators on İstiklal Avenue with plastic bullets and water cannon. Despite the attacks, a large number of protesters continued marching down the pedestrian way, chanting support for ODTÜ and demanding the government's resignation.
Gezi Park became the heart of nationwide protests in late May after a brutal police crackdown on demonstrators protesting against the municipality’s attempt to cut down trees at the park.
The road project in Ankara that will cause the destruction of ODTÜ’s forested area has also caused a similar uproar among students.
Earlier in the day, Ankara police used tear gas to disperse protesters gathered at the construction area of the ODTÜ campus to stop the cutting down of trees. Bulldozers were subsequently seen moving into to demolish buildings in the area that has been earmarked for the road.
ODTÜ’s leafy campus is one of the greenest areas in Ankara and has become an island of trees in recent years, after a construction boom in surrounding areas created a concrete jungle while also causing more traffic.