Tag Archives: Water cannon

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.

Turkish police fire water cannon to break up protest | Reuters

5678899(Reuters) – Turkish police fired water cannon and teargas on Monday to break up a protest by around 2,000 people outside an Ankara court over the handling of the trial of a policeman accused of killing a demonstrator earlier this year.

A group of protesters wielding sticks descended on the court entrance after a ruling that the accused officer could take part in court hearings via video link, prompting police to intervene, a Reuters witness said.

Several protesters were wounded and 18 detained, according to local media reports. Ankara police declined to confirm the arrests and the crowd was later dispersed.

Officer Ahmet Sahbaz is accused of killing Ethem Sarisuluk, shot dead in June during a wave of nationwide anti-government demonstrations set off by a tough police response to a protest over the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul.

Six people, including a police officer, died during the weeks of unrest, which presented one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan‘s decade-old rule.

Demonstrators, some armed with rocks, fireworks and petrol bombs, fought police firing tear gas, water cannon and pepper spray night after night, with the worst of the violence in Istanbul and Ankara.

Amnesty International said this month Turkish authorities committed widespread rights abuses during the unrest, beating and harassing protesters. Turkish officials have defended the police response and said such abuses will be investigated.

The hearing was adjourned to December 2, media reports said

Turkish police fire water cannon to break up protest | Reuters.