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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Gezi Park Protests

Protesters and police in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park on 28 May
Protests began locally on 28 May against a plan to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul

In May 2013, protests in Istanbul against a plan to redevelop Gezi Park snowballed into nationwide anti-government protests after the perceived high-handed response of the authorities.

Although the Turkish government opened dialogue with the protesters and the park development was handed over to the courts, the protesters did not see this as a major concession. Activists said their movement was more than just a conservation protest and vowed to stay on.

Subsequently, after 18 days of occupation, late on the night of 15 June it took riot squads using tear gas and water cannons just under 30 minutes to eject demonstrators from Gezi Park.

Media watchers noted that rolling news channels CNNTurk, NTV and Haberturk ignored the initial anti-government protests, while the Turkish Journalists Union claims 22 journalists were dismissed, 14 others suspended and 37 pressured to resign over their coverage of the demonstrations.

Medical officials estimate that 5,000 people have been injured and at least six killed since protests began in earnest on 31 May.

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