Turkey: Police use tear gas and enter Taksim Square for second time in day

12th Jun 2013

Istanbul, (Hürriyet Daily News): Riot police once again used tear gas and water cannon at around 8:20 p.m against protesters that had gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square June 11.
Dozens of riot police were seen surrounding all the roads leading to the square. Some injuries were reported by private broadcaster CNNTürk as ambulances were dispatched to the site.
The governor of Istanbul said via Twitter a few minutes after intervention that “marginal groups” had attacked the police who were stationed in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center, by the Taksim Square.

“I plead with citizens at the site to separate themselves from this marginal group and abandon the square. It is important that our demand is carried out for everyone’s security,” Hüseyin Avni Mutlu wrote, calling on citizens “not to worry”.

Television footage showed a few protesters near the AKM building throwing fireworks at police officers.

A van parked to boost cell phone reception was burning dangerously in the middle of the square.

Another two fires have also been set in the square, one in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center and the other at the edge of the construction zone for the ongoing controversial pedestrianization project.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters from Gazi, a neighborhood in the European-side district of Sultangazi that is famous as one of the most left-wing urban areas in Turkey, briefly halted traffic by marching down the TEM Highway in support for the demonstrators in Taksim. The protesters from Gazi, which has been the site of numerous demonstrations against the government since the unrest began, later returned to their neighborhood.

Following the intervention, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called its Central Executive Board for an emergency meeting at 1:30 a.m.

Call for rally

Crowds started to fill the square following a call from the Taksim Solidarity Platform for a rally that started at 7 p.m. following an all-day police intervention in central Istanbul.

The platform, an initiative organized to prevent a development project in Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park, called on everyone to support the ongoing protest at Gezi Park after the police entered the square at 7:30 a.m.

The platform voiced its concerns over the police intervention at Taksim and Gezi Park today, saying that none of the protesters demands had been realized by now, in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

The protesters discussed their concerns of police crackdown, while the police had assured them that no intervention was planned unless the protesters tried to hang banners on the Atatürk statue and the AKM cultural center, or throw stones at police officials.




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