Police detain 35 people in İzmir for potential protest

Police detain 35 people in İzmir for potential protest

İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
İzmir police have detained 35 youth organization members who were suspected of planning a protest today ahead of the Fifth İzmir Economic Congress, which will feature the Turkish president and prime minister.

The detention is the first operation to be conducted since the adoption of a new regulation that allows Turkish police to detain those who possess the “risk of conducting a protest” from 12 to 24 hours without the demand of a prosecutor or a judge.

The 35, who are reported to be from the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), a Kemalist organization, were detained in advance of the protest on charges of “violating meeting and demonstrations law.”

A few hours before the beginning of the congress, police received intelligence information that a protest would be staged during the entrances of President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan into the Swiss Hotel, where the congress is taking place.

Acting on that information, the police detained a group marching toward the hotel just a few hundred meters away from the venue and just a few minutes before Gül’s entrance.

The roads around the congress venue as well as the streets that the president and the prime minister passed while going to city center from Adnan Menderes Airport have been closed to traffic, while enhanced security measures have been taken.

The new regulations that allow the police to detain a suspect who “may conduct a protest” triggered anger among opposition parties, which condemned the government for adopting practices that are “signs of a police state.”

The move to strengthen police powers was precipitated by the countrywide Gezi Park protests, which began at the end of May.