ANKARA / ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Thirty-one people have been arrested over the Gezi Park protests in Ankara and Istanbul, bringing the total of those arrested during the three-week-long Gezi Park protests to 55.
An Ankara court ordered the arrest of 22 protesters upon the prosecutors’ request in the early hours of June 22 for organizing the demonstrations and provoking violence during clashes with the police. Another three suspects who had been sent to court with a request for arrest were released on probation.
During the hearing, a small group assembled outside the court to protest the prosecution of those who had participated in the demonstrations.
In Istanbul, where 67 demonstrators face charges of provoking violence, nine out of a total of 17 people sent to the court were arrested on charges of damaging public property and being a member of a terrorist organization. The other eight suspects were released on probatory conditions.
24 people had been arrested since the start of the Gezi Park protests, although the arrests against two members of Beşiktaş’s Çarşı supporter group were not directly related to their activities during the demonstrations but had been issued for carrying guns.
Police clash with protesters in Ankara
Clashes broke out again late on June 21 near the U.S. Embassy on Kennedy Avenue, which has become the center of clashes in the last week. Police used tear gas and water cannons against a group of protesters who were making barricades on the road. The protesters dispersed to side streets after the police intervention. One protester reportedly passed out as a result of the tear gas.
Ankara has witnessed violent police crackdowns during the demonstrations over the last three weeks with frequent clashes late at night between security forces and protesters.