Hundreds of people, including activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement, staged a demonstration in New York City to voice their support for anti-government rallies in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The protesters gathered in Zuccotti Park – the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Lower Manhattan – on Saturday, and marched nearly 5 kilometers (3 miles) to the Turkish consulate, press tv reported.
Some of the demonstrators carried signs reading “Istanbul is not alone,” while others waved the Turkish national flag. The Occupy Wall Street movement announced in a statement that the event was held with the goal to direct public attention to Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests, and the subsequent violent crackdown on the protests by Turkey’s ruling AK Party, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Similar demonstrations are scheduled to be held in several major US cities, including Austin, Boston and Chicago. Rallies showing solidarity with Turkish protesters have taken a worldwide scope, and scores of people in Belgium, Britain, Cyprus and Norway have protested against Turkish police brutality and heavy-handed measures against the demonstrators in Istanbul. Egyptian protesters also plan to stage a rally outside the Turkish embassy in Cairo on Sunday evening in support of the protesters in Istanbul.
On Saturday night, about 5,000 protesters surrounded Erdogan’s office in Istanbul’s Besiktas municipality, located on the European shore of the strait of Bosphorus, and threw stones at the office, injuring at least seven policemen. Special police forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. Earlier in the day, 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Taksim Square, demanding that Erdogan step down and calling the government “fascist”. The anti-government unrest began after police broke up a sit-in staged in Taksim Square on May 31 to protest against the demolition of Gezi Park. The protesters say the park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is the city’s last green public space. Amnesty International has censured the Turkish police for the tactics they have used to control the protests.