14th July 2013 – Turkish police have cleared Istiklal Avenue, firing water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of protesters as they gathered to march to Gezi Park. The park has been a cradle of anti-government unrest for weeks.
Demonstrators have been protesting against a recently imposed law which blocked the authority of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) from approving urban planning projects. They gathered at Istiklal Avenue to march to Gezi Park, which is located a short walking distance away. The crowd was chanting anti-government slogans and screaming, “This is just the beginning. The fight is continuing.”
As police approached the crowd and asked them to exit the area, some of the protesters refused to leave the street. Riot police then responded by using tear gas and water cannon.
TMMOB members also staged protests in Ankara on Saturday, with architects and engineers believing the bill – which was passed by parliament this week –to be part of a government vendetta. Earlier, TMMOB opened a lawsuit against plans to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park. A court has since cancelled the redevelopment project, although authorities can still appeal against the ruling.