[Nearly one year after the massive Gezi Park protests in Istanbul — and only weeks after the country-wide rebellions at the death of hundreds of miners at Soma — Turkey’s government is launching yet another round of arrests and repression while the people’s solidarity, resistance, and commemoration of the year since the upsurge which Gezi marked, declares the coming weeks of struggle. — Frontlines ed.]
Hurriyet Daily, 27 May 2014 –– A Turkish court ordered the arrest of 47 suspects in the Gezi Park case on May 27, while the pioneers of last year’s protest called for a May 31 rally in Taksim to mark the anniversary of Turkey’s largest-ever civil uprising.
A total of 255 suspects, including seven foreigners, have been on trial since May 6 on charges ranging from “violating the Meeting and Rallies Law” to “resisting police” and “supporting a criminal.” Others who took refuge in Dolmabahçe Mosque on June 1-2, 2013, while running away from the police are accused of violating another law that bans people from dirtying a place of worship.
The 55th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul heard the testimonies of 19 more suspects during the 10th hearing on May 27, raising the total number to 174. The court ordered the arrest of 47 suspects who had yet to defend themselves. Four plaintiffs who did not attend previous hearings will also be brought to testify by police.
The Gezi protests erupted on May 27, 2013, when a small group of protesters refused to leave Gezi Park in Taksim to prevent the cutting of trees where a large development project was planned by the government. Following the government’s harsh response, protests spread to the whole country on May 31, 2013.
Meanwhile, Taksim Solidarity, the main organizers of the Gezi Park protests, has announced that a rally will be held in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square for the anniversary on May 31.
At a press conference on May 27 in Istanbul, Taksim Solidarity spokesperson Mücella Yapıcı also called for anniversary rallies “in Ankara, İzmir, Antakya, Eskişehir, Bursa, Adana, Mersin and Diyarbakır.”
“We’ll be at Taksim Square on May 31 to remind that we, as Taksim Solidarity, didn’t abandon our demands and our gains,” Yapıcı said.
She also said authorities still do not allow citizens to freely use Gezi Park, although the green space has remained as a park thanks to the protests.