Protesters who took to the streets of Istanbul on Friday, to demonstrate against the recent corruption scandal which shocked the Turkish nation, once again, were treated to heavy-handed police action to quell the protests.
Invoking memories of the Gezi park protests, riot police fired tear gas and water cannon on demonstrators who were trying to gather in Istiklal Avenue and also near the German Hospital in Cihangir, both of which are in the central Beyoglu district.
Many ambulances and fire engines were seen entering the pedestrianised area as police rained rubber bullets against the demonstrators.
A woman journalist from the publication ‘Radical’ was hit by rubber bullets, suffering injuries to her leg but remained on the scene to continue reporting. Riot police were attacked by protesters who threw fireworks and stones. Around 31 people, including three lawyers, were arrested.
Footage and photos showed council workers disabling surveillance cameras around the Taksim area ahead of the demonstration.
Protesters, who had responded to a call via social media to demonstrate, urged the government to resign over allegations of corruption, that had led to the resignation of three ministers.
Protesters chanted “Everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption,” reminiscent of the slogan “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance” that became the watchwords of the Gezi protests. They also shouted slogans like “Catch the thief!” in reference to the corruption allegations.
Elsewhere, in Ankara and Izmir, similar protests were held while police again resorted to tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Battles between protesters and police were also reported in Antakya, in the Hatay Province, one of the main scenes of clashes between locals and security forces during the height of the Gezi protests.
The sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, who handed over their portfolios on 26th December after resigning, were among the 24 people who have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation.
Eyewitness video courtesy of our reader Jade Farrall: Istanbul protesters clash again with riot police