Police violence has become widespread in Turkey. On the night of Saturday August 3rd there was a call on Twitter with the #MilyonlarTaksime (Millions to Taksim) hashtag to protest the closing of Gezi Park again in Taksim. As can be understood from the “Millions,” this was simply a case of “trolling” aimed at manipulating the Governor of Istanbul and police to take unnecessary precautions out of fear that that many people might actually show up. However the Governor and the chief of police in Istanbul took measures; thousands of riot police and over a dozen TOMAs (Riot Intervention Vehicles) and “Spiders,” which are rapid shooters to disperse riot crowds, were brought in.
As the streets were empty of protesters, police chased the “invisible men,” running up and down streets, which started a random protest by people who had been walking around and shopping. A few dozen people started randomly shouting without drawing attention to themselves and these few protesters faced intervention by police with truncheons and water cannons. TOMAs started spraying chemicals on people randomly on Istiklal Avenue and by the end of the night 40 people had been detained.
While all this was happening around Gezi Park, police went out hunting “protesters.” They started to attack civilians with colored rubber bullets. When it became obvious that the protest was not actually taking place, they started to spray tourists with water cannons. They detained a person who was sitting and smoking and they intimidated him because he was smoking publicly during the month of Ramadan, when many people are fasting in accordance with Islamic beliefs.
In addition to these incidents, police beat and detained two elderly people who were sitting in a restaurant, for no apparent reason. All this is proof of the fact that police do not even try to legitimize their illegitimate interventions, although earlier last month they had been excused by officials stating that the policemen were “overtired and nervous” and thus had attacked civilians with excessive force, unleashing all the terror and brutality.
Written by Turkish blogger, Tuğba Sivri
Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart
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