Footage reveals police beat up Gezi protesters in İzmir

The video footage released by the Cumhuriyet daily shows police officers at the Kantar Police station beating a group of youth who were taken into custody on the second anniversary of the 2013 nationwide Gezi protests.

A total of 63 people were detained during the protests in İzmir on the second anniversary of the Gezi protests.

What began as a peaceful demonstration against the government plan to uproot trees to build a shopping mall on the site of Gezi Park, a green space in central İstanbul, spiraled into nationwide protests against then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government after a brutal police crackdown on peaceful protesters on May 31, 2013.

The police force was criticized for excessive violence during the 2013 protests though Erdogan praised the crackdown, saying the police suppression of the protest had been “heroic.”

The protests, the biggest incident of unrest against a government in the history of the Turkish Republic and the first serious challenge to Erdogan’s rule, caused a deeper divide in the already polarized nation. Erdogan accused the protesters of terrorism and attempting to overthrow his government.