Protesters help a handicapped activist, who fell from her wheelchair after tear gas was shot towards them, during a demonstration in front of a courthouse in Ankara, yesterday.
ANKARA: Turkish police fired water cannon and tear gas yesterday to break up a protest by around 2,000 people outside an Ankara court over the handling of the trial of a policeman accused of killing a demonstrator earlier this year.
A group of protesters wielding sticks descended on the court entrance after a ruling that the accused officer could take part in court hearings via video link, prompting police to intervene, a witness said.
Several protesters were wounded and 18 detained, according to local media reports. Ankara police declined to confirm the arrests and the crowd was later dispersed.
Officer Ahmet Sahbaz is accused of killing Ethem Sarisuluk, shot dead in June during a wave of nationwide anti-government demonstrations set off by a tough police response to a protest over the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul.
Six people, including a police officer, died during the weeks of unrest, which presented one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-old rule. Demonstrators, some armed with rocks, fireworks and petrol bombs, fought police firing tear gas, water cannon and pepper spray night after night, with the worst of the violence in Istanbul and Ankara.
Amnesty International said this month Turkish authorities committed widespread rights abuses during the unrest, beating and harassing protesters. Reuters