ISTANBUL – Thousands of protesters returned to Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday, demanding justice for a demonstrator slain by police fire during demonstrations that have swept Turkey this month. Police later forced the protesters out of the square, pushing them back using their shields.
In the capital, Ankara, police fired tear gas and pressurized water to break up a similar protest by a group of about 200 people, the Dogan news agency reported.
Turkey has been hit by a wave of protests this month that were ignited by a brutal police crackdown on a peaceful environmental sit-in at a park near Taksim. The demonstrations soon turned into a wide outpouring of discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
Four people – three demonstrators and one police officer – have been killed and thousands injured.
The demonstrations have largely subsided in recent days, but thousands converged back on the square on Saturday, angry over a court decision this week that released a police officer from custody pending his trial for the killing of a protester in Ankara.
The protesters also denounced the killing of a Kurdish demonstrator by paramilitary police in a mainly Kurdish town on Friday.
Police allowed protesters to chant slogans for some two hours before issuing a warning for them to disperse. They then moved in, pushing the crowd away from the square. They arrested several people in the process, including some foreign nationals, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.