In Turkey, protests have broken out in the biggest unrest in a decade. Read on to find out why…
Why are they protesting?
Late May trouble began in protest to the proposed demolition of one of Istanbul’s green spaces (Gezi Park), which has a huge symbolic value to many of the locals. The government planned to use the space to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks and a mosque on the site
Why did so many end up protesting?
Although the protest started off small the police agitated the locals when they tried to clear the protesters away with tear gas and water cannons. As a result, in early June, thousands of people joined in. The government has admitted to overreacting, but so far there have still been approximate 2,800 protesters injured, 800 arrests and 2 deaths.
Who are the protesters?
The protesters are far-ranging from young to old, rich to poor.
What do the protesters want?
Originally it was the stopping of building on Istanbul’s green spaces. Now, a committee of experts known as the Taksim Solidarity Platform has been established to negotiate with government. Their demands are to scrap the redevelopment of the green space, the sacking of many police officers, the prevention of excessive force and to release the arrested protesters.
What other factors could have led to protest?
Days before the protests a bill was passed in parliament to ban the late-night sale of alcohol in shops, which led to protesters holding up beer to Recep Tayyip Erdogan (their Prime Minister) as a gesture of defiance. There are also plans to place a constitutional ban on headscarfs, adultery and kissing in public.
What are your thoughts? Do you think they should be protesting? Is their police showing too much force?
Thanks for reading,