Affrontements à Ankara – 3 février 2011

Walking like an Egyptian, responding like Turkey

Hürriyet Daily News

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nearly 10,000 workers protesting in Ankara on Thursday were pushed back with water cannons and pepper spray, a move the opposition said ran counter to the government’s call for a peaceful response to demonstrators in Egypt.

Workers throughout the country descended on the capital to protest a bill they say reduces their rights as part of a mass demonstration organize by various Turkish unions. Their goal was to create a human chain around the Parliament building to show their opposition to new employment legislation currently being debated at the General Assembly.

Interior Minister Beşir Atalay and Ankara Gov. Alaatin Yüksel had warned protesters not to initiate the rally, as they did not have legal permission to gather. If they insisted on doing so, the officials said, security forces would intervene.

Accompanied by more than 30 opposition deputies, the protesters convened in Ankara’s Kurtuluş district in the early hours of the day before beginning to march on Parliament. Police blocked Atatürk Boulevard, the main road to the building, and warned them not to try to proceed further.

At this point, deputies with the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, led by Istanbul deputy Çetin Soysal, began negotiating with the police chiefs and then with Atalay, who agreed the group could march only another 500 meters. When the protesters insisted on proceeding toward the Parliament, police met them with water cannons and pepper spray. Workers responded to the security forces by hurling sticks, stones and eggs.

Some protesters, including both CHP deputies and workers, were mildly affected by the pepper gas. The demonstrators withdrew to the Kurtuluş district, where they ended the protest. Read more…

 

 

Turkish police clash with protesting workers

Reuters

03 Feb 2011

ANKARA, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Police fired water cannon and tear gas to force back thousands of workers and students trying to march on parliament in the Turkish capital on Thursday in a union-led demonstration against a draft labour law.

The demonstration was unrelated to the turmoil sweeping Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Opinion polls show Prime Minister Taayip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, known as the AK Party, well set to win a third term in power at parliamentary elections due in June, though analysts note an increasing polarisation of Turkish society between secular and conservative Muslims.

The protesters responded to the water cannon and tear gas by throwing stones at the police. Television news channels put the size of the protest at up to 10,000 people, though a Reuters journalist present said it was less than half that number.

The workers were protesting against new employment legislation, currently being debated by parliament, which they argue will reduce workers’ rights and allow employers to exploit unregulated labour.

The government says the law is needed to create a more flexible labour model. Read more …

 

~ par Alain Bertho sur 4 février 2011.

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