'Bullet blinded student' in Turkey's May Day protests

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sixteen-year-old lost sight in left eye after allegedly being hit by rubber bullet during a police crackdown in Ankara on May Day

Sixteen-year-old lost sight in left eye after allegedly being hit by rubber bullet during a police crackdown in Ankara on May Day

ANKARA - A high school student who was left blind in one eye after a May Day police crackdown in Ankara has given a statement to prosecutors amid claims he was blinded by a rubber bullet.

Baris Ceyhan, 16, gave testimony to the public prosecutors' office on Tuesday, a week after his father filed a criminal complaint.

Ceyhan, who was accompanied by his lawyers, stated that an object hit his left eye while he was watching the crackdown in the Turkish capital on 1 May.

He added that he had had two surgical operations since the incident and had been unable to go to school. 

Doctors and witnesses have said a rubber bullet struck Ceyhan during the clashes.

- Attack by gunmen

Scores of people were injured during the action as police deployed tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

Istanbul and Ankara both witnessed May Day police crackdowns aimed at preventing demonstrators from gathering in the cities’ iconic squares, Taksim and Kizilay. 

Many of the demonstrators were commemorating an incident on May 1, 1977, when unidentified gunmen fired on a peaceful crowd of 500,000 people gathered in Taksim square, Istanbul, to celebrate Labor Day.

Thirty-six people died in the rioting and fighting which followed.

Taksim Square remained closed to Labor Day demonstrations between 1977 and 2010.

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