Tag Archives: Protest

Turkey’s Police Clash With Hundreds Defying Protest Ban On May Day

Protesters run and protect themselves as riot police use a water cannon against them during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

ISTANBUL, May 1 (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of stone-throwing May Day protesters on Friday, after they defied a ban and tried to march on Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

Europe’s biggest city was under a security lockdown as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop demonstrations at Taksim, a traditional rallying ground for leftists that saw weeks of unrest in 2013.

Riot police unleashed water cannon and chased protesters down side streets in the nearby Besiktas neighborhood and also they also fired off canisters of tear gas, a Reuters reporter said. Demonstrators lobbed stones and bottles at police and set off fireworks.

Istanbul police said nearly 140 people had been detained, although activists said the number was nearly double that. The city’s governor said 6 police officers and 18 protestors had been injured in clashes, which died out as the afternoon wore on and a clean-up operation got underway.

Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the government have become more authoritarian in the buildup to June elections.

“People want to express their problems but the government doesn’t want those problems to be heard ahead of elections,” opposition politician Mahmut Tanal, holding a pocket-sized book of the Turkish constitution, told Reuters in Besiktas.

Demonstrators try to protect themselves from water, sprayed by a police water canon truck and tear gas, during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2015

A usually bustling square lined with cafes and hotels, Taksim was filled with police buses, ambulances and satellite broadcast trucks. A pair of tourists emerged from a hotel to find the area sealed off and nervously made their way around police lines.

Much of Istanbul’s public transport had been shut down due to security concerns, and police helicopters buzzed over the city. Tens of thousands also gathered to march in the capital Ankara, where the mood was more festive, with dancing and singing.

A woman reacts as Turkish police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

he government had said Taksim would only be open to those who came peacefully and not for “illegal demonstrations.”

“I wish May 1 to be celebrated in a festive mood without provocations,” Erdogan said in a statement.

Opposition parties and unions called on the government to lift the ban.

A protester kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with riot police during a May Day rally near Taksim Square in Istanbul on May 1, 2015

Erdogan has previously dismissed protesters as “riff-raff” and terrorists, outraged by the unrest in 2013 that brought unwanted international attention and posed the biggest challenge to his AK Party since it came to power in 2002.

Recent polls say AKP is on course for another election win in June but he may fall short of the massive victory Erdogan is targeting to allow him to change the constitution and bolster his presidential powers.

Demonstrators challenge riot police officers during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 1, 2015.

he 2013 Taksim protests began as a peaceful demonstration against plans to redevelop Gezi Park, a leafy corner of the square. After a police crackdown the demonstration spiraled into weeks of nationwide protests against Erdogan’s rule.

Freddie Gray not injured during arrest, slammed inside van – report

Screenshot from youtube.com video

The preliminary autopsy on Freddie Gray shows no evidence that his fatal injuries ‒ broken vertebrae and an injured voice box ‒ occurred during his arrest. It does show that he likely received a head injury while being transported, local WJLA reported.

Commissioner Anthony Batts announced Thursday morning that the Baltimore PD had turned over the results of its preliminary investigation to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City a day earlier than his self-imposed deadline.

The medical examiner found that Gray’s neck was most likely broken when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, sources who were briefed on the findings told the ABC affiliate.

He also suffered a head injury that appears to match a bolt in the back of the van.

“It’s also unclear whether Gray’s head injury was voluntary or was result of some other action,” WJLA said, referring to conflicting accounts of Gray’s actions while being transported.

Between the time he was arrested and the time he arrived at the police station on April 12, the police driving the van stopped four times, including one where they picked up a second detainee.

That witness claimed that Gray was banging his head against walls.

The autopsy showed no evidence of Gray doing that however, according to WBAL reporter Jayne Miller.

Sources told her that, by the time the van made its fourth stop to pick up the second man, Gray was already unresponsive. The man told WBAL that he heard some banging noises for four seconds after he was loaded into the transport, but did not see Gray or hear him talk.

Gray was not seatbelted while in the van, even after police placed him in leg shackles. It is against Baltimore Police Department policy not to belt in detainees.

“They came, they did their job, they regret that someone was killed. But in their hearts and in their minds, they think that they did the right thing. And they hurt behind the backlash of it more than anything, and being left out there with no support,” the relative of one of the six officers involved with Gray’s arrest told WBAL.

All six of the officers have been suspended, but only five of the six have given voluntary statements about the incident.

The Baltimore PD turned over the results of its preliminary investigation to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City on Thursday morning, Commissioner Anthony Batts announced. According to his self-imposed deadline, the initial report was not due until Friday.

Turkey mine fire: Image of aide kicking Soma protester stokes anger

Yusuf Yerkel, an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicks a person who is being wrestled to the ground by two police officers during protests in Soma, Turkey, on Wednesday, May 14.

Soma, Turkey (CNN) — The image of an aide to Turkey‘s Prime Minister kicking a man protesting the mine disaster that has claimed nearly 300 lives has prompted outrage — and has become a symbol of the anger felt against the government.

The incident occurred as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the western city of Soma a day after the devastating mine fire.

The man, detained by special forces, can be seen lying on the ground as the suited adviser to Erdogan, identified as Yusuf Yerkel by Turkish media and CNN Turk, aims a kick at him.

The shocking image outraged many in Turkey, prompting an outpouring of anger on social media, and is seen as symbolizing the increasingly polarizing impact of Erdogan’s authority on the country.

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Violence as thousands march in Rome against austerity

Demonstrators fight with policemen during a protest in downtown Rome April 12, 2014.

At least 80 people – both police and protesters – have been injured as street battles broke out in Rome, with rocks being flung and police deploying pepper spray. Thousands took to the street to march against austerity measures.

Blasts and sirens could be heard as a splinter group of masked protesters launched firecrackers, eggs and rocks at police, who defended themselves with shields. One protester had his hand blown off by a firecracker he was yet to throw. At least six people were arrested, police said.

The march started at roughly 14:00 from Porta Pia, with the crowd stating they were protesting in favor of affordable housing and plans for new labor regulations which would make firing and hiring easier.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in the process of making mass economic reforms. Youth unemployment has risen to well over 40 percent.

“Renzi’s labour reforms will worsen the situation for workers without job security, hitting young people when they are already struggling. The rage of the people in the squares today is justified,” a 23 year old graduate from Modena named Federico Bicerni told Reuters.

“Unemployment levels are very high. For the time being people can survive thanks to family support…but this is very thin amount of reserves that families can spend to support their family members. At one point in time this could end and people will just be without anything. No job, no house, and no prospective retirement benefits,” Political Analyst Paolo Raffone told RT.

Austerity measures as such are extremely painful if they are not followed by some measures to support people,”
he said. Tens of thousands also marched in France simultaneously. Police stated that some 25,000 joined the protest, while social media estimates placed the figure closer to 100,000.

Protesters in Paris waved banners declaring that “When you are leftist you support employees,” in criticism of Hollande’s business-friendly reforms which are seemingly abandoning the ideals of the left.

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Donetsk protesters prepare for Kiev military attack, referendum

A photo taken on April 10, 2014 shows a view of the barricade of pro-Russian protesters outside the regional state administration building in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

As the armed storming of the Donetsk administration building seized by the protesters seems imminent, the anti-government movement is preparing for the referendum set to form their new way of life and the country they’re going to live in.

Masked men, who are mostly civil volunteers, but also police and army defectors, say they “defend their motherland from the fascist army that’s going to kill them.” They also demand “a referendum to be independent from Kiev” and are in favor of “being with Russia.”

In the local administration building, the protest movement makes Molotov cocktails: they say they want to avoid any violence, but if there is a crackdown on them, they will be forced to use whatever they have.

“I only have a stick to defend myself. They are coming armed with machine guns, and all I had yesterday for example was a chair leg,” a masked protester said.

The Donetsk protesters fear the repetition of Kharkov scenario, where police cleared the demonstrators in a very violent way, detaining at least 70 people.

Donetsk is known to be the Ukrainian industrial capital, with about 1 million people living there. The Donetsk region is home to 10 per cent of the country’s population.

Female pro-Russian protesters guard a barricade outside the regional state administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 10, 2014.

In the local administration, there are representatives of almost every big town or city in the Donetsk region, and each city or town occupies a floor in the building.

The protesters explained their position to RT.

“The protest in Donetsk is against nationalism, we are for social justice, the creation of our republic means drastic changes in the way our territory is organized. We are for equality of languages. We are against the oppression by the majority by the nationalist minority, and against threatening ethnic Russians.”

Another protester, wearing a mask, spoke about the industrial wealth of his region that seems to vanish in Kiev for the most part.

“Donetsk region sends about 470 million dollars to Kiev, and less than 150 million returns. All the mines and enterprises in Donetsk are prosperous.”

Watch more in RT’s Maria Finoshina’s report.

 RT News.

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88 injured, 29 arrested in Madrid as anti-austerity march turns violent

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Protesters clashed with police in Madrid as thousands of people trekked across Spain to protest austerity which they claim is destroying their country. Under the banner “no more cuts!” the protesters called for an end to the government’s “empty promises.”

Police arrested at least 29 protesters following the clashes which took place after the march. According to emergency service, 88 people were injured – 55 of them police, El Mundo newspaper reports.

Protesters were seen throwing stones and firecrackers at police. According to witnesses, officers used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Clashes broke out during a final speech at the demonstration when protesters tried to break through a police barrier. Riot police took charge by beating protesters with batons, AP reported.

“The mass rally was coming to an an end when reportedly a group of younger protesters, who had masks on their faces, started throwing rocks at the police. Police tried to push them away from the parameter that they organized around this area,” RT’s Egor Piskunov reported from Madrid.

“They (police) tried to push them (protesters) away from these police fences and then we started seeing firecrackers being thrown at police and reportedly authorities started firing rubber bullets at the protesters. As a result, there are injuries on both sides and several people have been arrested as well.”

“I can confirm that there is very heavy police presence in this whole district. Since it is the center of Madrid, there are lots of luxury hotels in this part of town and security here is very tight,” he added.

Six “columns” of trains, cars and buses, as well as bands of pedestrians have travelled from Extremadura, Andalusia, Valencia, Murcia, Asturias, Galicia and Aragon, among other Spanish regions, to converge on Madrid in mass protest this Saturday. The demonstration itself has been dubbed 22-M, Marches for dignity.

Eight groups of activists are expected to move into the Spanish capital at different points throughout the course of the day. As a precautionary measure, the Madrid authorities have closed roads in the center of the city and asked people to use public transport whenever possible on Saturday. In addition, the Spanish authorities have deployed 1,650 riot police to keep the situation under control in Madrid.

The protest movement is demanding an end to the so-called Troika-style cuts in Spain, more jobs and affordable housing.

“Why am I here? I’m sick of this government. With all the promises they never fulfill. They said they were going to create more jobs and lower the taxes but it’s a lie! Instead, unemployment rose from 4 to 6 million. This is the only way we can fight back,” one of the protestors, who had been on the road since March 9, told RT correspondent Egor Piskunov.

A large proportion of the protesters who have made their way on foot to the Spanish capital are unemployed and plan to camp in Madrid until their demands are met.

“There are too many reasons: my sons have to work every day from 8 in the morning to five of the next morning only for 400 euros per month! Also I’m a teacher and I know what cuts in the public sector mean,” said another activist. “All these evictions – this is insane. I’m marching to Madrid because I can’t walk to Berlin or Brussels. We must stop them and the Troika!”

Hundreds of people are evicted from their homes every day in Spain. The General Council of the Judiciary reported that 49,984 forced evictions had been carried out across the country last year, which averages about 185 a day.

The number of evictions reached an all-time high in Spain in 2012 with over 500 a day, according to a report by the BBC. This combined with an unemployment rate of 26 percent, the second highest in Europe after Greece, has left many Spanish citizens with nowhere to turn. This is reflected in the growing number of suicides in the country, with the country’s National Institute of Statistics estimating that at least 8 people take their lives every day in the country.

Pepe Caballero, one of the organizers of the protests said the Spanish government is trying to return Spain to the Franco era.

“What the government wants is to go back to the Franco years and keep the working class from demonstrating in the streets and saying what our main problems are. We won’t allow that to happen and they know it,” Caballero told RT, adding that the protest movement will change Spain from the “bottom to the top.”

At the beginning of this month, the Spanish Minister of Employment Fatima Banez said that Spain had finally pulled itself out of the recession and registered economic growth. However, the Spanish Union of Workers dismissed Banez’s announcements as “government propaganda.”

Anti-austerity demonstrators crowd into Colon square as they take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the "Marches of Dignity" in Madrid, March 22, 2014

Anti-austerity demonstrators crowd into Colon square as they take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the “Marches of Dignity” in Madrid, March 22, 2014

via 88 injured, 29 arrested in Madrid as anti-austerity march turns violent — RT News.

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MADRID : Big protest in Spain against government austerity

People gather during a protest against the Government in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Thousands from different parts of Spain marched towards the Capital to join a large anti-austerity demonstration, demanding the resignation of the Government and to express their anger at government financial cuts, its housing rights policies, and the high unemployment rates

MADRID — Tens of thousands of demonstrators from across Spain have marched in central Madrid to protest government measures they claim have eroded civil rights in the country.

Six columns of protesters — each from a different region of Spain — arrived at the outskirts of the city early Saturday before heading for Colon square, carrying banners bearing the slogan “Marching for Dignity.”

By late afternoon, Madrid’s principal boulevard, Paseo del Prado, was packed with people chanting against government’s austerity policies and the cuts they have entailed.

The protest includes trade unions, civil servants and organizations representing people evicted from their homes for not being able to make mortgage payments after losing their jobs.

One woman carried a banner saying, “My daughter can’t be here because she’s had to emigrate.”

The Olympian.

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Female activists scuffle with Istanbul police on Int’l Women’s Day

A Turkish woman shouts in front a barricade of riot policemen as she and other protesters march towards Taksim square as part of the "International Women's Day" on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

A Turkish woman shouts in front a barricade of riot policemen as she and other protesters march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

Some 2,000 people marched peacefully in central Istanbul on International Women’s Day, protesting the Turkish government’s policies and violence against women. A small group of protesters later clashed with officers who blocked them from Taksim Square.

The demonstrators, mostly women, marched down the city’s landmark pedestrian Istiklal Street on Saturday towards Gezi Park at Taksim Square – the cradle of last year’s massive anti-government protests.

As riot police cordoned off the area, some protesters tried to break the police line, hitting officers with the sticks of the banners they were carrying, Ruptly news agency reported. Police used shields and batons to disperse the crowd.

The protesters shouted, “Police go home, the streets are ours” and “Tayyip (Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) run away the women are coming,” Xinhua news agency reported.

According to a survey conducted by the Turkish Health Union, more than 79 percent of respondents believe there is gender inequality in the country, which has caused poverty and disadvantages among women.

Turkish women clash with riot policemen as they march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

Turkish women are blocked by a barricade of riot policemen as they march towards Taksim square as part of the “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 2014, in Istanbul.

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Libya MPs shot and wounded as congress stormed

(CNN) — At least two members of Libya’s General National Congress were shot and wounded after protesters stormed its headquarters in Tripoli on Sunday evening, according to congress members.

One of the congressmen, Abdul Rahman Sweihli, was shot in the leg after protesters opened fire on him inside the building.

As his security detail rushed him out, gunmen opened fire on their cars as they were trying to flee, his son Bashir Sweihli told CNN.

No information about the second lawmaker was available.

A GNC member speaking on Libyan TV said lawmakers continued their evening session despite dozens of protesters surrounding the building and pouring gasoline on the walls before they stormed the building.

Workers walk past the wall of the Libyan General National Congress (GNC) in the capital Tripoli on March 2, 2014, in front of which gunmen dispersed a sit-in protest and detained demonstrators the previous day.

Workers walk past the wall of the Libyan General National Congress (GNC) in the capital Tripoli on March 2, 2014, in front of which gunmen dispersed a sit-in protest and detained demonstrators the previous day.

Other members of the GNC, the country’s interim parliament, were assaulted, and some of the women members harassed, lawmakers said.

Young men ransacked the building, and parts of it were set on fire, according to witnesses.

Videos posted to social media sites showed a chaotic scene, with young men setting cars and furniture outside the building ablaze.

Protesters accused a GNC-backed rebel group of attacking its camp outside parliament

Protesters accused a GNC-backed rebel group of attacking its camp outside parliament

Public anger has been mounting against the GNC, especially after members voted last December to extend their term in office until the end of this year.

For almost a month, thousands of Libyans have taken to the streets across the country in peaceful demonstrations demanding an end to the GNC’s term.

In response to the rising tensions, lawmakers announced last month that early elections would be held, but a date has not yet been set.

Earlier in the day, anti-GNC protesters blocked off roads close to the building and set tires on fire after reports spread of an attack Saturday night on anti-GNC protesters. That attack included burning down their tent and reportedly kidnapping some protesters.

More than two years after the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime, Libyans have become increasingly frustrated with the state of their country and the performance of their elected officials.

Separately on Sunday, gunmen shot dead a French national in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Local authorities condemned the killing and said the man was an employee of a private French company that was doing expansion work on the Benghazi Medical Center.

The French Foreign Ministry condemned the killing of the man identified as Patrice Real and said the perpetrators must be pursued and punished.

A Libyan soldier was also killed in Benghazi on Sunday when an improvised explosive device detonated under his car, according to the state news agency LANA.

Four unidentified bodies of young men with gunshots to the head were found in a forest east of Benghazi, LANA reported.

Separately, a fifth unidentified body was discovered in al-Jarutha, west of the city.

Violence levels in the city have spiked over recent weeks with assassinations, kidnappings and bombings becoming near daily occurrences in the city that was the cradle of Libya’s revolution.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the rising violence in Benghazi, residents and officials blame the violence on Islamist extremist groups.

Last week security forces found the bodies of seven Egyptian Christians dumped west of the city.

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Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, smash to pieces with hammers

Masked anti-government protesters toppled the monument to Vladimir Lenin in Kiev on Sunday pulling him down with steel ropes, and smashing the granite figure with sledgehammers. A huge crowd queued to get a piece of the statue.

A group of protesters singing the national hymn of Ukraine then hoisted the national flag on the vacant pedestal, as the passing cars were honking in support of the act and jubilant cries were heard from the crowd.

The activists shouted “[President Viktor] Yanukovich, you’ll be next!” while lighting flares and throwing smoke bombs next to the monument, Ukrainian media reported. Security forces were absent from the scene at Shevchenko Boulevard.

Local clerics also came to the scene “to smash Lenin,” RT’s Lida Vasilevskaya reported from the scene.

The furious demonstrators were holding red-black flags – the symbol of the far-right opposition party Svoboda (Freedom).

However the party denied the responsibility saying it would be unfair to lay the blame on them.

“Participants of Euro Maidan altogether toppled the monument, which was standing there illegally. There was a presidential decree [by former President Viktor Yushchenko in 2009] about its abolition,” said Yury Sirotyuk, the spokesman of Svoboda.

The leader of the party Oleg Tyagnibok jokingly called it “a meaningless suicide.”

Kiev police are investigating the monument’s demolition and the first detentions have already been made, according to the opposition Udar party official website.

They detain people who were just standing nearby and expressing a negative attitude to the Stalin-Lenin regime,” Valery Karpuntsov, an Udar MP claims, adding that the police did not try to stop the protesters from smashing the monument.

This is the second time that the monument to the iconic communist leader has been attacked. On December 1, a group of pro-EU protesters tried toppling the statue with a similar tool. The riot police fended off the attack by dispersing the activists.

The monument was erected in 1946 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the constitution created by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Some Ukrainians view Lenin as an oppressor who deprived them of a state following World War I.

The head of the Kiev City Administation, Aleksandr Popov, named the incident “an act of vandalism that has nothing in common with democracy.”

The press secretary of the Ukrainian Prime minister Vitaly Lukyanenko noted that “the war with the monuments is barbarism. This signals the return to dark and wild times of our history.”

Protesters topple Lenin monument in Kiev, smash to pieces with hammers PHOTOS — RT News.