Police seal off Gezi Park ahead of alternative iftar event
Police forces once again blocked entry to Istanbul's Gezi Park, before cordoning off Taksim Square in an attempt to restrict a group that had gathered at the entry of the park. DHA photoPolice forces once again blocked entry to Istanbul's Gezi Park on July 28, hours before an alternative iftar event planned by the Anti-Capitalist Muslims, a small religious group that has supported the Gezi protests from the beginning.
Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Istanbul deputies Sabahat Tuncel and Sırrı Süreyya Önder had also been expected to attend the event, part of the "traveling" iftar meals that are being organized in a different public space every day.
After evacuating the park, police started to cordon off Taksim Square in an attempt to restrict a group that had gathered at the entry of the park. At least three people have been detained, while some of the security officers sprayed tear gas at individuals who refused to leave the square, daily Hürriyet reported.
'Political decision without legal justification'
Tuncel and independent deputy Levent Tüzel started a sit-in to protest the closure of the park. After being unable to convince the officers, they prepared a small dining table on the floor at the juncture between the pedestrian İstiklal Avenue and Taksim Square, despite being surrounded police officers.
"The organizers of the 'earth iftar' [at Gezi Park] had invited us and we wanted to participate. But the police didn't allow us to. This has no legal justification. It is a political decision," Tüzel told reporters.
Riot police detain a demonstrator during
the sit-in protest at Taksim Square in
Istanbul, July 28. AA photo
Those who came for the iftar meal prepared a long table along the İstiklal street, like during the first day of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, officers have also removed a symbolic memorial cemetery that had been placed by the Gezi protesters to commemorate the four demonstrators and a police officer who died during the demonstrations that were sparked two months ago.
The protest to prevent the municipality cutting down trees at Istanbul's small green lung at the heart of the crowded central entertainment area exploded into nationwide
A long iftar table was set on the İstiklal
Avenue after the park was sealed off by the
police. AA photo
Police then violently evacuated the park after protesters had occupied it for over a week. The park was subsequently sealed off for more than three weeks until the beginning of Ramadan on July 8.