Turkish court releases ‘men with machetes’ who attacked Gezi Protesters

Turkish court releases ‘men with machetes’ who attacked Gezi Protesters

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Turkish court releases ‘men with machetes’ who attacked Gezi Protesters

The footage was recorded moments after police intervened with tear gas and water cannon at Taksim Square. It took place in the Talimhane area, adjacent to the square, where dozens of touristic hotels are located. DHA photo

An Istanbul court has released four men who were detained on allegations of attacking Gezi Park protesters with machetes on July 6, pending trial.

A prosecutor had sent the four suspects to court on charges that they “intended to injure and resisted commissioned officers” after videos emerged showing them attacking protesters with machetes.

One man with a machete, identified as S.Ç., was seen kicking a woman in the back while holding a machete in his hand, hours after police staged a heavy-handed attack on Gezi protesters on July 6.

The footage was recorded in the Talimhane area, next to Taksim Square, where a dozen touristic hotels are located.

Following the broadcasting of the footage, Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said via Twitter that two people involved in the attacks with machetes had been detained. “Our police will continue to do their duty with care and rigor against such attacks,” Mutlu wrote on July 6. Security forces had been criticized for not intervening to prevent the machete-wielding attackers.

S.Ç. was summoned to the police station for testimony and remains in custody, reports said. He is a local shopkeeper who is struggling under a 600,000-Turkish Lira debt, daily Milliyet reported. He was was quoted as saying that he lost the money because of the ongoing Gezi Park protests.

The man had previously been detained for kidnapping a woman, after which he gave testimony to the anti-narcotic police.

Turkish social media users launched several hash tags demanding to learn the identity of the attacker and the police officers who ignored his attacks.

S.Ç.’s full name and identity details, even his house address, was immediately shared on social media.

Protesters had gathered on July 7 to retake Gezi Park, following a decision by the Istanbul 1st Regional Court to cancel plans to raze the green space and replace it will a mall, but authorities refused to permit any demonstrations in the Taksim area.