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Violent Clashes Between Police and Protesters Continue to Rage On in Turkey

On Sunday, footage has emerged of more than a dozen police officers tackling a demonstrator in Ankara.
June 1, 2014, 7:40pm
Photo via AP

Violent protests continued the day after police and demonstrators clashed in Ankara and Istanbul on the anniversary of widespread anti-government demonstrations in Turkey.

On Sunday, footage emerged of more than a dozen police officers tackling a demonstrator in Ankara who had turned up to commemorate the shooting death of a 26-year-old protester a year earlier.

Turkish police also fired rounds of tear gas and water cannons at around 500 other activists who had gathered at the site where police shot Ethem Sarisuluk in Ankara's downtown Kizilay Square on June 1, 2013.


“Ethem’s murderer is the AKP police,” protesters shouted in reference to the ruling Justice and Development Party, AFP reported. “This is only the beginning. We will keep on fighting.”

Watch our Protests in Turkey dispatches here.

A similar scene was seen in Istanbul on Saturday, where police were captured on video beating one protester with batons and demonstrators attempted to outrun thick clouds of tear gas through the streets leading to Taksim Square, the epicenter of large-scale protests that swept the country last spring.

Police detained 154 people in Istanbul alone on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Eleven officers and 12 civilians were treated in hospital for injuries. It is unknown how many remained in hospital or in detention on Sunday afternoon.

Taksim Square Protests Anniversary
At least six people were killed in the demonstrations following the government's violent eviction of a group of environmentalists from Taksim Square's Gezi Park on May 31, 2013.

The group had been staging a peaceful sit-in to try to halt the planned development of a shopping center and uprooting of trees in the area, and their forced removal was seen as a further exertion of Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's growing authoritarian rule.

Tens of thousands of people turned out at Taksim Square over the following two weeks to contest Erdogan autocratic government regime and demand greater democratic freedoms. They were met with a heavy-handed police response that drew widespread international condemnation.


The Prime Minister of Turkey is in denial. Read more here.

In subsequent months, at least 12 people were killed and thousands more wounded during related demonstrations across the country.

Erdogan attempted to dissuade more violence on the anniversary of the Gezi Park protests early Saturday saying, "I am calling on my people: don't fall for this trap. This is not an innocent environmental action."

Roads and train lines leading to and from Taksim Square were closed and access to the park was blocked by up to 25,000 riot police and 50 anti-riot water cannon vehicles, according to local newspapers.

Erdogan warned demonstrators to stay away from Istanbul's main square, saying that security forces will "do whatever is necessary" to curb protests, according to the Associated Press.

"If you go there, our security forces are under strict orders, they will do whatever is necessary from A to Z," Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul. "You won't be able to go to Gezi like the last time. You have to obey the laws. If you don't, the state will do whatever is necessary."

In Photos: Police brutality in Turkey. See the pictures.

Despite the warnings, The Taksim Solidarity Platform and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions both called for protests on the anniversary of the uprisings at Gezi Park.

Follow Liz Fields on Twitter:@lianzifields