Turkey: Police fire rubber bullets, tear gas at protesters

Turkish riot police on Monday fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to block demonstrators from entering the small Istanbul park.

Police moved after Turkish authorities reopened Gezi Park to public use earlier in the day.

"Four people died for this park. This park will reopen!" a young demonstrator shouted, while others were trying to convince the police that their action was unfair and they should stop emptying the park.

But later in the day after police sealed off access to the central Taksim Square and the adjacent park, the cat-and-mouse game with protesters ensued in the nearby thoroughfares.

At least one demonstrator was seriously wounded, with his left eye abundantly bleeding, an Agence France-Presse journalist reported.

"You should be ashamed of yourself. Go on, shoot me too!" one of the protesters yelled at a police officer on top of an armoured vehicle.

Some angry shopkeepers at a fish market close to Taksim square lashed out at police and anti-government demonstrators, accusing them of ruining their business.

Earlier on Monday when Turkish authorities reopened the park they warned that no further protests would be tolerated.

'Occupation zone'
"Gezi Park has been reopened to public but there are many calls for unauthorised protests aimed at turning the park into an occupation zone," Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu wrote on Twitter.

A brutal police crackdown on May 31 against a peaceful sit-in to prevent 600 trees from being cut down in a park redevelopment scheme sparked June's nationwide protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Islamic-rooted government.

Protesters occupied the small park and put up tents to remain around the clock before being evicted by police on June 15.

Since then, the park has been closed. But in the face of public anger, authorities planted additional trees and a Turkish court annulled a government decision to redevelop the park, saying locals had not been sufficiently consulted about the project.

Residents feared the redevelopment plan would turn the area into a shopping district, while urban planners and ecologists said the proposals did not respect the environment.

Nearly three weeks of protests in Turkey have left four people dead and some 8 000 injured. – AFP

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories