Istanbul Protests Continue in Iconic Taksim Square
Thousands gathered once again at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square on Saturday to protest the Turkish government’s response to the local Gezi Park protests.
The demonstration came a week after one in which security forces used water cannon and tear gas to dispel the crowd that remained after most left following police orders warning protesters to go home peacefully.
Some of the protesters said they were present to express their outrage over the death of an 18 year old demonstrator in Lice, in eastern Turkey. Medeni Yildirim was shot Friday while protesting construction of a gendarmerie outpost in a Kurdish village. Ten others were injured in the demonstration by some 250 protesters.
More than 10 demonstrators were arrested in Istanbul on Saturday, according to the daily Hurriyet newspaper. Some witnesses said police used rubber bullets as well.
Turkish public sector workers joined members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in a march through Istanbul to protest Yildirim’s death.
Meanwhile a group of 250 demonstrators protested in Kurtulus Park, near Ankara University in the Turkish capital. Police chased the protesters and fired tear gas canisters and water cannon to disperse the crowd, which had gathered to denounce the killing of a Ethem Sansuluk, a demonstrator in Ankara shot by police in the early days of the Gezi Park protests. Demonstrators also chanted slogans for Yildirim.
A police sergeant was kidnapped by PKK terrorists also Friday, just hours after the riot in which Yildirim was killed. The officer – a member of Turkey’s special ops unit – was hauled out of his car after an argument at a checkpoint manned by the terrorists on the main road outside the village, according to the Dogan News Agency. The officer’s torched car was found a day later near forested land.
A total of four people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters, and at least ten people have lost an eye. Several others were seriously wounded as well in the nearly three weeks of environmental protests over the government plans to redevelop Istanbul’s only remaining green space, Taksim Square’s Gezi Park, and an underlying protest over the Islamist regime’s attempts to tighten up the secularist lifestyle of the country.