At least 120 detained in Istanbul on Gezi protests anniversary
Sunday, June 01, 2014
ISTANBUL - Around 120 people have been detained in Istanbul as police intervened to disperse protester groups gathered to mark the anniversary of last year's Gezi Park protests, said Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok late Saturday.
Speaking to reporters at Istanbul's Taksim Square, he said four police officers were wounded including a deputy police chief.
One of the officers were injured by bullet while the deputy police chief was wounded by a molotov cocktail thrown by protesters.
Meanwhile, AA photojournalist Atilgan Ozdil was wounded as a beer bottle was thrown from a nearby building hit him in the head while he was shooting the events in Besiktas district.
After calls from Taksim Solidarity Group for mass protests on the first anniversary of the start of the Gezi Park protests, riot police took strict security measures around the Taksim Square, which was the center point in the last year's demonstration which later mushroomed into mass anti-government protests across the country, resulting in the deaths of eight people, including a police officer.
Putting up barricades, riot police closed roads including Istiklal Street to block access to the Taksim Square, whereas only reporters are allowed into the square.
The security forces intervened against groups who gathered near Istiklal and Okmeydani to march towards Taksim while chanting slogans.
Several deputies from Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP), who were among the groups, demanded from the police forces to let the march to the square.
After police did not allow the march, the groups clashed with the security ffankaraorces and tried to break the barricade. In return, riot police dispersed them by using tear gas and water cannon.
Some shops near the area were damaged during the clashes.
Police helicopters also patrolled over the region.
Meanwhile, around 150 protesters in Okmeydani district blocked the traffic on Piyalepasa Street and chanted slogans.
After the police intervened, the protesters threw stones, fireworks and molotov cocktails at them.
The street is still closed to traffic due to security concerns.
Earlier in the day, all ferry lines from Istanbul's Anatolian side to the European side were cancelled as part of the security measures.
Istanbul's police department deployed 7,500 police officers and 50 riot control vehicles (TOMA) to Taksim district alone on Saturday morning. Istanbul governor said security forces would not let any crowds gather around Taksim Square.
In total, around 25,000 police officers are on duty today in the districts Taksim, Besiktas, Dolmabahce, Sisli and Okmeydani.
Turkey's capital Ankara also saw protests on Saturday at the city's main square, Kizilay.
Several groups and NGOs gathered in Kizilay and blocked the traffic. A total of 45 protesters were detained at the end of the day.
There were also protests in Turkey's third largest city Izmir during which 65 suspects were taken into custody, as Governor Mustafa Toprak wrote on his official Twitter account.
The Gezi Park protests began as a small environmental demonstration on May 31, 2013, and turned into nationwide anti-government demonstrations. The protests erupted after the government moved to implement a redevelopment plan for nearby Taksim Square which reportedly included replacing part of Gezi Park with a mall.
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