Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ankara Riot Police Employ Tear Gas on Protestors

From Hürriyet:
Over 50,000 demonstrators in the capital over the weekend have protested the AKP policies handling the effects of the global financial crisis in Turkey. Clashes erupted when police begin using tear gas against some demonstrators who refused to be searched.

The use of tear gas and batons by police overshadowed a democracy meeting held by thousands of workers in Ankara on Saturday to protest the ruling government’s policies in handling the effects of the global financial crisis.

On more than 500 buses, 20,000 demonstrators from across Turkey came to Ankara’s Sıhhiye Square and joined with those from Ankara taking the total of protesters to 50,000 with a police presence of 5,000 in the square.

Clashes erupted when police began using tear gas against some demonstrators who refused to be searched by police at entry points and who refused to leave the sticks of their banners behind before entering the square. Tension further grew when some police arbitrarily used tear gas and batons against members of the crowd and demonstrators responded by throwing stones. Insistent calls by organizers caused some demonstrators to return to the square but clashes continued in the back streets of Sıhhiye. Some police officers and demonstrators were hurt, windows of some shops in the area and barriers on the main road were broken.
This incident recalls this year's May Day on which thousands of protestors clashed with riot police. May Day prompted strong condemnation from human rights groups and the European Union, and made its way into both the EU Parliament's annual report on Turkey and this November's progress report of Turkey's progress toward accession.

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