Sporadic clashes between protestors and police in Turkey’s main cities, hundreds detained.

By bne IntelliNews June 17, 2013

There have been sporadic clashes between protestors and riot police in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities over the weekend. In Istanbul, the country’s largest city, the unrest grew on Saturday after riot police stormed Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and evicted protestors. Thousands of anti-government protesters also took to the streets in Ankara and in around ten other cities to show their support for those in Istanbul. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protestors, hundreds of people have been reportedly detained. The roads leading to Taksim square have been blocked by the police. The two weeks of unrest have left four people dead so far and about 5,000 injured, the Turkish Medical Association said.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of AKP supporters gathered in two rallies in Ankara on Saturday and in Istanbul on Sunday. Addressing his supporters, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the eviction of the protestors from Gezi Park and rejected the criticisms suggesting that he was behaving like a dictator. Erdogan also dismissed the anti-government protests as nothing more than the minority’s attempt to dominate the majority. The PM puts the blame for the protests on what he calls “the interest rate lobby”, foreign media and radical groups.

Two of Turkey's main labour unions KESK (the Confederation of Public Workers' Unions), and DISK (the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions) have called a one-day nationwide strike to protest against the police crackdown on anti-government demonstrations. Three associations representing doctors, dentists, engineers and architects said they would support the labour unions. The workers’ unions and associations have around 900,000 members. As PM Erdogan remains defiant, defends heavy-handed tactics of police and protestors vow they will not back down, Turkey may see more street protests and clashes this week.

 

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