Major roadways closed in Istanbul on Gezi anniversary

The Istanbul Police Department announced on Saturday that major roads leading to Taksim Square in the city will be closed on Sunday, the second anniversary of the Gezi Park protests.
According to a statement released by the Istanbul Police Department, major roadways, streets and and”critical traffic pointsand” will be closed on Sunday from 9 a.m. What began as a peaceful demonstration against plans to uproot trees to build a shopping mall on the site of Gezi Park, a green space in central Istanbuland’s Taksim Square, spiraled into nationwide protests against then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s government after a brutal police crackdown on peaceful protesters on May 31, 2013. On the first anniversary of the event in 2014, Turkish police intervened with tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters in Istanbul who had gathered to mark the anniversary of the protests, at which seven people had died. Istanbul had the look of a city under siege as public transport was closed by authorities in an effort by the government to block access to Taksim Square, where the protesters wanted to mark the anniversary of the 2013 demonstrations that started over a redevelopment project — personally pushed by Erdogan — that sought to demolish Gezi Park. The Turkish police force was criticized for excessive violence during the 2013 protests, with Erdogan praising the crackdown, saying the police suppression of the protest had been and”heroic.and” The protests, the biggest incident of unrest against a government in the history of the Turkish Republic and the first serious challenge to now-President Erdoganand’s rule, have caused a deeper divide in the already polarized nation. Erdogan has accused the protesters of terrorism and attempting to overthrow his government.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman