Police fire tear gas as protests spread

2013-06-02 21:51
(Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis, AP)

(Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Istanbul - Turkish police fired tear gas at protesters in Ankara on Sunday while thousands of people occupied Istanbul's main Taksim Square on the third day of mass demonstrations against Turkey's Islamist-rooted government.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said more than 1 700 people had been arrested in the unrest that has spread to 67 cities nationwide, though most have since been released.

In Istanbul, a sea of protesters from across Turkey's political spectrum flooded Taksim a day after police pulled out of the area, waving flags and chanting "Government, Resign!" and "Istanbul is ours, Taksim is ours!"

From a nearby rooftop, a banner with the words: "Do not surrender" was unfurled.

Taksim has been at the heart of a wave of protests that have spread across the country in the biggest public outcry against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government since it took power in 2002.

Rights groups have complained about what they said were a "disgraceful" heavy-handed response by police to the demonstrations while Turkey's Western allies appealed for restraint.

The unrest began as a local outcry against plans to redevelop Gezi Park near Taksim, but after a heavy-handed police response quickly snowballed into broader protests against what critics say is the government's increasingly conservative and authoritarian agenda.

Routine

After two days of violence, the situation appeared to have calmed in Istanbul on Sunday after police pulled out of Taksim and officials adopted a more conciliatory tone.

But in Ankara police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse about 1 000 protesters who were attempting to march on the prime minister's high-security office, images that were shown live on a television network.

Amnesty International said some protesters had been left blinded by the massive quantities of tear gas and pepper spray used by police.

Amnesty's Europe director John Dalhuisen said police excesses had become routine in Turkey "but the excessively heavy-handed response to the entirely peaceful protests in Taksim has been truly disgraceful."

Human Rights Watch said the number of injured was higher than official figures suggested and that one protester had lost an eye.

Turkey's Nato allies Britain, France and the United States have all urged the Erdogan government to exercise restraint.

 


Read more on:    turkey  |  turkey protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.