Police detained 11 individuals who gathered in downtown Istanbul to protest the cutting of trees for a road construction on METU campus in Ankara. While 4 were released briefly after, the remaining 11 detainees will testify before a prosecutor today.
Around 7:30pm local time yesterday, dozens of protestors assembled in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square after an appeal by People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) to show solidarity with METU people.
However, the group was confronted by a police intervention, which came in the form of tear gas bombs and excessive force. Using their shields, police reportedly pushed protestors into the area around UK Consulate building.
Efkan Bolaç, an advocate from Contemporary Lawyers Association told bianet that at least 15 were detained in the protests with 4 released briefly after the incident and the remaining to testify before a prosecutor today.
Ahmet Saymadi, a assembly member at HDK told bianet that there were reports on those who were detained by the police with no detention registry and they might have been released as well. He also added that police violence left many injured.
Saymadi: They are trying to close down Galatasaray Square
“By 7 pm, police intervened all groups around Galatasaray Square area. Therefore the press statement was attended by very few people.
“As the constituencies of HDP and HDK, we gathered around the square, but we were told by the police to disperse immediately. We told them that we didn’t have a press statement to make but we wanted to explain the audience why this is not the case.
“Briefly after that, they made their intervention and pushed us out until the UK Embassy nearby. We broke up after that.
“Some people from our group shouted slogans in the meanwhile, some university students joined them. Police attempted to detain the slogan-shouters by intervening with tear gas bombs. HDK member Marif Alparslan was injured from his foot. I heard of somebody else who lost conscious but I don’t have clear information on that.
“In this process, I think that police will be more likely to disperse public gatherings even before they are happening. Which means that we are confronting an antidemocratic practice here. NGOs used to make their press statements in Galatasaray Square all the time. What happens now clearly shows that they are trying to block this. But I don’t think organisations will give up their struggle.
It was also reported that Ulaş Gürşat from BirGün newspaper was detained by the police during the protest and released briefly after. (EKN/YY/BM/HK)
* Photo credit: Nilay Vardar
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