According to Roarmag, last night, large parts of Istanbul were covered in clouds of tear gas in what appears to be the most violent crackdown of the authorities on the peaceful protests opposing Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule so far.
At 9pm with only a 15 minutes warning the police attacked Gezi park which was at that time filled with peaceful protesters, among them children, elderly and tourists. In less than half an hour the park was cleared from protesters and the police started tearing down tents, banners, infirmaries and community spaces that were set up by the protesters. A lot of people sought refuge in the hotels surrounding Gezi Park, with Divan Hotel opening its doors to the wounded and being turned into an emergency hospital.
The violence of the police last night was unprecedented, with water cannons shooting water at a hospital entrance, police firing tear gas inside buildings and apartments, attacking the Divan Hotel arresting doctors and the injured alike. Widespread rumours suggest that the water from the water cannons has been treated with some kind of chemical, causing skin and eyes to burn.
So far one protester lost his life after being run over by a police vehicle (see first video).
In a reaction to the violent crackdown, hundreds of thousands of Istanbullus took to the streets, marching on highways and across the bridge over the Bosporus in order to join their fellow-Capulers in the area around Taksim Square. All night long protestors tried to advance towards the centre, only to be met with more police violence. Reports of the army and military police being brought in feed fears of escalation of the conflict, especially in the light of the provocative AKP-rally that is organised by Erdogan in Istanbul today.
In Ankara the violence continued as well, with reports of dozens of protestors being hospitalized after being hit in the head or the chest by tear gas canisters, which are used as bullets and fired directly at the protestors by the police.
The Taksim Solidarity Platform called for rallies at 16:00 (IST) today, with marches being organized in the following towns across the country: Edirne, Bursa, Antep, Konya, Trabzon, Tarsus, Adana, Çaycuma, Çanakkale, Antalya, Samsun, Eskisehir, Antakya, Izmir, Mersin.
Meanwhile, media reporters were not allowed to enter Gezi Park whilst many of them have are not even allowed to record in İstanbul and in Ankara. Government figures have continued blunt lies, spreading spite and malice through the media and municipality in İstanbul stops public transportation to stop people reach at Taksim. The families of those who have been taken into custody do not know where they have been taken in İstanbul while the thousands of people attending to the funeral of Ethem Sarısülük (who was killed by a police bullet) have been violently attacked by police in Ankara and the municipality of Ankara has stopped public transportation services to prevent people from attending the funeral. Almost all of the international conventions that Turkey has been a party to regarding human rights have been breached.