ANKARA: Turkish riot police yesterday confronted hundreds of university students in Ankara throwing stones and erecting barricades in protest against a project to build a road across part of their campus.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at between 200 and 300 protesters who gathered at the entrance of Middle East Technical University, images broadcast on local television showed.
Police detained 14 people earlier in the afternoon during a demonstration against the city’s plans, which include uprooting a large number of trees both inside and outside the campus.
University students began a sit-in protest to the plans for the campus — one of the largest green spaces in the Turkish capital — in the summer.
Meanwhile, Istanbul authorities yesterday closed the central Gezi Park — the epicentre of anti-government protests in June -- to the public and deployed police units in the area.
Armoured police took up positions around the park as calls for demonstrations were launched on social networking websites to protest against the police repression in Ankara.
A peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park and its 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into nationwide protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen as increasingly authoritarian.
Five people were killed and thousands injured during the unrest, which presented the Justice and Development Party government with its biggest challenge since it came to power in 2002.