Police intervene with water cannons against protesters gathered at Taksim Square

Police intervene with water cannons against protesters gathered at Taksim Square

Police intervene with water cannons against protesters gathered at Taksim Square

Riot police intervened with water cannons around 8:35 p.m. local time to the crowd peacefully gathered at the Taksim Square. Protesters had placed red carnations on police's water cannon trucks. REUTERS photo

Police intervened with water cannons against thousands of protesters peaceful gathered today in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a week after the police cleared Gezi Park, the heart of nationwide demonstrations, after a muscled crackdown.  

After warning the crowd to disperse from the square, riot police used water cannons to quell the demonstration.

Many protesters had started to disperse following police’s warning. The square was mostly cleared after the intervention as some protesters regrouped at the İstiklal Avenue which intersects with the square. 

Police fired tear gas against demonstrators that scattered in the side streets linking to the İstiklal Avenue. Tear gas was also reported at the Sıraselviler Avenue that also intersects with the Taksim Square.

30 injured were treated in the infirmary set up at the Mechanical Engineer Chamber’s building, daily Radikal reported, including 10 that were wounded by rubber bullets. Nine other injured were treated in another infirmary at the Istanbul Bar’s Office. Four among them were conveyed to the hospital, the report also said.

Demonstrators disrupted car traffic: Governor

Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu justified police intervention, saying that demonstrators were disrupting the car traffic at the Taksim Square. “The incident has come to a point far beyond than laying carnations, where the public order was disrupted. The intervention was carried out due to the hindrance of public and normal transportation and the access of taxis and buses [to the square],” Mutlu told Anatolia news agency.

“Taksim Solidarity Platform has made a call to disturb the peaceful environment in Taksim area. The group has blocked the square nearly for an hour,” he added. 

The Taksim Solidarity Platform had called on protesters to hold carnations to commemorate the four casualties of the protests and demand the implementation of their previous conditions put forward in talks with the government during the three-week-long demonstrations.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Sabahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü had also attended the demonstration.

No political messages or flags were displayed as protesters only brought Taksim Platform banners and the national flag. The crowd condemned the closure of the park, chanting "open park, belonging to the public."

The police did not let the protesters enter back into Gezi Park, which has been cordoned off since last week. Only nine members of the Taksim Platform were allowed by the Istanbul's Governor Office to lay flowers in the memory of the three demonstrators and one police officer who died during the wave of protests.

Following the intervention, the Taksim Platform said in a statement that demonstrations will continue until their demands were met. “Not only we did not receive any answer for our demands, but [we] were tried to be silenced with violence, detentions and arrests,” the statement said.

The group had conveyed their demands to the Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in a meeting two weeks ago, saying that law enforcement officers who have escalated the violence should be investigated and removed from office; the use of pepper gas should be banned. They also requested the government to ensure the freedom of assembly

Ankara sees another night of police intervention, journalists hurt

Gezi protesters in Ankara faced yet another police intervention in both the usual spots of Kennedy Avenue and Bestekar Street, besides witnessing a first time intervention in Dikmen district on the night of June 22, lasting until the early hours of June 23.

It had been reported that the police used tear gas and water cannon on the crowd that intended to walk towards Kennedy Avenue, a venue where police are known to confront the protesters almost every night, through Tunalı Hilmi Avenue.

The protests in Dikmen started off as a group of protesters who wanted to march to Kızılay; but were soon countered by the police using tear gas. Following this, the protesters built barricades, where the police further intervened with tear gas and water cannons, according to daily Radikal.

It was also reported that forums, a recent phenomenon that developed as an extension of protests that prompted people to assemble and deliver short speeches on the protests, were being held in Çaldıran and Güven parks.

During the clash in Dikmen, some journalists were harmed. According to Anatolian news agency, their photojournalist Mahmut Serdar Alakuş, Doğan news agency cameraman Tahsin Güner and İhlas news agency reporter Osman Özgan were attacked by a group in Dikmen Avenue, and the mobile phone of Güner was reported to have been seized.