Turkish Police Forcefully Disperse Park Protesters

Water guns and tear gas deployed


Riot police fired water cannons and tear gas as they drove protesters out of Istanbul's Taksim Square and neighboring Gezi Park on Saturday, an intervention that came shortly after the prime minister warned that security forces "know how to clear" the area.

Within a half-hour, the sweep by white-helmeted riot police had emptied the park, leaving a series of colorful, abandoned tents behind. Bulldozers moved in afterward, scooping up debris as crews of workmen in hard hats and fluorescent yellow vests tore down the tents. Protesters put up little physical resistance, even as plain-clothes police shoved many of them to drive them from the park.

For over two weeks, protesters had defied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's warnings to vacate the area. A brutal police intervention on May 31 against those protesting plans to redevelop the square and the park had sparked the biggest anti-government protests in Turkey in decades and dented Erdogan's international reputation.

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  1. Turkish protesters have reported through social media that those who have taken refuge in the Divan hotel have come under attack. Doctors have been arrested for treating protesters or attempting to treat protesters. Photos from inside the Divan show frightened and injured children. Another photo from inside the Hilton show police in riot gear threatening those inside. The police have removed id numbers from their helmets so that they cannot be identified. Pictures also show protesters with burns on their skin. They say that something has been mixed into the water fired by the police water cannons.

    Given Turkey’s past history even if the people are unable to oust Edrogan from office, I wouldn’t be surprised at a military coupe.

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