Killing on the streets of Istanbul

At face value, the violence surrounded a small park (Gezi) in the central district of the European side of the City. The park is being destroyed to make way for a shopping mall and a reconstructed ‘barracks’ that was once on the site. That does not explain the extreme violence meted out to the protesters.

The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not known, seemingly, for tolerance and accepting criticism. Secularists in particular seem to be under pressure from the Government. There were violent clashes also on May Day. The Government has also instituted legislation against the consumption of alcohol raising fears of increasing desecularisation, something which has been defended since the establishment of the secular state by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923. He also seeks to establish an executive presidency by changing the constitution.

I’m struggling to download any pictures, but in the first instance please go to http://imgur.com/q3XfOFf from where I have extracted the following pictures and captions. There are many disturbing images.

 Istanbul_demo_31_5_13
 Istanbul_metro_31_5_13
 Istanbul_demo2_31_5_13
 Istanbul_demo3_31_5_13

Additional video footage can be found here: http://webtv.radikal.com.tr/Turkiye/3653/yorumsuz.aspx
The Guardian newspaper in the UK now has a photo strip of demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2013/jun/02/protests-istanbul-ankara-pictures?picture=409969309#/?picture=409969309&index=0

The Prime Minister seemingly now blames the opposition and ‘social media’ for the unrest.

I travel more than I could ever have thought possible in my youth. I recently visited Istanbul as a tourist. Events there yesterday are shocking in their own terms; the fact that I have been to the city and the locations of the police violence against citizens makes it particularly so. My ignorance about the politics of Turkey and Istanbul reflects the nature of tourism.

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