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Common Dreams

In Turkey: 'Resisting for Our Future'

What started in Istanbul to protect a public park has spread far and wide

Jon Queally, staff writer

Following nearly a week of growing protest and a weekend that saw violent clashes between demonstrators and police, the supporters of the Occupy Gezi movement in Istanbul have not only grown in number but won a tactical victory by reclaiming the park in central Istanbul that first spawned the national outcry and has now garnered international attention.

Meanwhile, what started in Istanbul has spread to Turkey's capital Ankara where youthful opposition forces condemned the prime minister, marched by the thousands on his government offices, and continued to call for his resignation.

Explaining the explosion of activism and protest, as one popular tweet phrased it, the growing popular movement in Turkey is "resisting for its future":

And the #occupygezi hashtag was trending all over the world throughout the weekend:

The Guardian reports from Istanbul:

What started last Monday as a relatively small, peaceful protest to save an inner city park from having to make way for a kitschy Ottoman-style shopping centre, rapidly snowballed into the largest and most violent anti-government protests that Turkey has seen in years.

Hundreds were injured, some seriously, by the heavy-handed police response and excessive use of teargas. Riot police withdrew from the capital on Saturday evening, handing a victory to the demonstrators.

The protests spread across Turkey to half of its 81 provinces, the interior ministry said. It added that 939 people had been arrested in 90 demonstrations all over the country, while damage costs have not yet been announced.

On Sunday, Al Jazeera's Gonca Senay reported from capital city of Ankara, where protests had also erupted over the weekend and police have fired tear gas and water cannons to keep protesters away from the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:


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And CCTV America reports:

Reporting from Al-Jazeera added:

The Turkish Doctors Association said the three days of demonstrations have left 1,000 people injured in Istanbul and 700 in Ankara.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said more than 1,700 people had been detained in protests that have spread to 67 cities, though most have since been released.

"A large majority of the detainees were released after being questioned and identified," he said in remarks carried by the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Protesters also clashed with police in Izmir and Adana, Turkey's third and fourth biggest cities, on Sunday.

The ferocity of the police response in Istanbul on Saturday shocked Turks, as well as tourists caught up in the unrest in one of the world's most visited destinations.

It has drawn rebukes from the US, European Union and international rights groups.

Helicopters fired tear gas canisters into residential neighbourhoods and police used tear gas to try to smoke people out of buildings. Footage on YouTube showed one protester being hit by an armoured police truck as it charged a barricade.


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