Police crack down on CHP youth members in Istanbul’s Gezi Park
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
A police officer chases demonstrators with tear gas in front of the entrance of Gezi Park, in Istanbul, Nov. 23. DHA PhotoPolice used tear gas to intervene in a group of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) youth branch members on Nov. 23, while they were trying to make a press statement at Istanbul’s flashpoint Gezi Park.
Members of the CHP’s Istanbul youth branch members, as well as social democrat and socialist youth leaders from around the world who were in Istanbul for a program titled “Occupy the World for the Construction of a Better One,” gathered to issue a press statement on the steps of Gezi Park early on Nov. 23, but police did not allow them to enter the park and intervened with tear gas.
CHP Youth Branch Head İrfan İnanç Yıldız asked for permission from the police to hold a press announcement on the steps of Gezi Park with youth leaders from Palestine, the U.S., Tunisia, Israel and other countries.
Police responded by saying that venues for demonstrations had already been set by the governorate and they would not let any protest take place in other venues.
Stating that they had lodged a petition beforehand and wanted to make the announcement in Gezi Park, Yıldız and the rest of the group marched towards the park, where the police resisted and did not allow the group to enter, using tear gas to disperse them.
“We only wanted to evaluate the agenda with our foreign guests on the steps of Gezi Park. This situation, the masks, and the shields all show your cowardliness. We do not aim to create tension, we wanted to establish our ideas and make an announcement on the steps just 100 meters away, which is our right granted by the Constitution,” said Yıldız after the police intervention.
Gezi Park was the site of protests in the summer of 2013, initially against the Istanbul Municipality’s plan to build a mall complex on the park in the form of an old military barracks.