Turkey again closes Istanbul park

ISTANBUL — An Istanbul park that was at the center of weeks of antigovernment demonstrations opened for a few hours Monday, but Turkish authorities quickly closed it and fired a water cannon, tear gas, and rubber bullets at protesters heading to the area for a planned rally.

The attack — the second by police on protesters since Saturday — occurred on a main pedestrian road leading to Istanbul’s landmark Taksim Square and adjacent Gezi Park.


On Monday afternoon, Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu declared Gezi Park reopened to the public but warned he would not allow it to become a point for more demonstrations. About three hours later, police asked the public to leave the park and closed it.

An Associated Press journalist at the scene said police used shields to push some laggards out of the park, fired tear gas at a few protesters who struck a police shield, and detained a dozen people. Some protesters were seen hurling stones at a water cannon.

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The Istanbul Bar Association said around 30 demonstrators were rounded up, including members of a group opposed to Taksim’s redevelopment who had called Monday’s Gezi protest.

Mutlu said on his Twitter account that the park was shut down again because there were ‘‘many calls to turn Gezi Park into an area of unlawful demonstrations and occupation.’’

Gezi had been cordoned off since June 15, when police forcibly evacuated thousands of protesters who occupied it amid widespread rallies against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Associated Press

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