Police fire tear gas at Istanbul protests over workers' death
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
AA PhotoTurkish riot police on Sept. 7 fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in Istanbul, a day after 10 workers were killed when a lift crashed to the ground from the 32nd storey of a building.
Police stepped in when more than 1,000 people gathered near the construction site in Istanbul's upscale Mecidiyekoy district to express their anger at Turkey's lax workplace safety measures.
Worker cries during protest over killings at Istanbul construction
A colleague of 10 workers reportedly broke down in tears while beseeching police to not shoot tear gas at people gathering to protest the deaths.
A group of members from the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) gathered at the construction site at around 1 p.m. on Sept. 7 to protest the killings of workers as police deployed in the area prevented them from proceeding.
Police officers were ordered to “don their masks” in preparation for using tear gas on the group when the dispute between protesters and security forces continued.
During the conflict, a 24-year-old worker, Ömer Öztekin, came between them, urging police not to use tear gas.
“I have a request: Don’t fire tear gas. Let them hear our voice,” Öztekin said. “Your relatives may be working here, too. You have become police. Not everyone can be a policeman. You may have a 3,000- or 4,000-lira salary. But we risk our lives for 2,000 liras here.”
Öztekin failed to hold back his tears during his 15-minute speech. The protesters did not shout slogans while Öztekin was speaking.