I was there with a local Muslim man who had come to the park for the first time in two weeks to see what was going on, and he met lots of his friends from the neighborhood. Most of them had little to do with the protest itself: they just wanted to have a look. At the same time Prime Minister Erdogan gathered a few hundred thousand of his supporters in Ankara, and the rally was broadcast by most TV channels. Some people were even upset that all the media were talking about Gezi Park and no one said a single word about the international Turkish language contest attended by 40,000 Turks from across the world. At sunset, street vendors flooded Taksim Square, offering food, helmets and gas masks. These people clearly have an incredible flair for making money! But there is no price boosting: pastry, kebabs and cherries in Taksim Square are no more expensive than elsewhere. The weekend demand for a snack was clearly higher than for a gas mask. One could hardly spot a policeman on the square – they were all strolling around the back streets, posing for photos as the locals and tourists. The general atmosphere was nothing if not peaceful. I had spent the whole day talking to social scientists and political analysts, all keen to discuss what stands behind the Taksim uprising. And no one acknowledged there were long-standing problems that finally came to a head and spurred a reasonable protest. But was it reasonable at all? The protest slogans range from telling Erdogan to step down to cheering a café owner, ‘Hold on there, kebab!’ in the middle of a gas-covered street. Erdogan’s supporters call the unrest a problem. Erdogan’s opponents call him a dictator, however, citing few arguments. Intellectuals speculate that foreign-funded organizations engage in scheming and intriguing to undermine Turkey because the West envies its economic growth. The future scenarios were simple and straightforward. Some believed the police would raid Gezi Park from time to time – only to see it full of protesters again the very next morning. Others said it would slowly fade away in eight months – when the elections will start. Many hoped the protest would die a natural death, as Erdogan enjoys obviously stable ratings of at least 62%. The Erdogan elite often recalls a poll conducted by a pro-American institute, which ranked Erdogan as the most popular leader in the world today, who left behind even President Obama and David Cameron. The idea of a massive violent crackdown by the security forces on the protester’s tent camp was not even considered. By 9 pm, the idle bystanders had gone. Young people started pouring into Istiqlal and the adjacent streets in groups of twenty to thirty. For about an hour and a half they kept yelling ‘Erdogan must go!’ and throwing garbage at the policemen. Then the security forces arrived and chased the protesters away, firing tear gas at the tent camp. It took them two hours to clear protesters out of the place. Even if you are not in the thick of the events, you quickly learn what is going on: your skin and eyes itch, and then you have gas coming in through the windows. If you don’t close them, you are going to have a tough time. Turkish tear gas is different from other substances I have been exposed to covering other protests. If you use a wet cloth to breathe, like you would do in any other gas attack, it makes your face burn. So do the tears. But it’s a perfect ‘Hollywood’ gas, coming out in puffs from a small box and carried away by the wind – a very cinematic picture. If you have a gas mask on and the wind blows in the right direction, you can put together a wonderful snapshot portfolio. Every third protester was carrying a professional camera. I’d never seen so many well-equipped media in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine or Syria. Tear gas streaming down the face is not the only hurdle if you want to make your way through the streets. To get to my hotel, I was to cross the street and walk some 500 meters. I put on a hood and the people told me, you look so much like the protesters that the police will target you. I put on a headscarf and the people told me, you look like a Muslim woman, protesters may hit you. They told me a terrifying story of how the protesters attacked a young mother, the sister-in-law of a local official, who was waiting for her husband in the street. They stopped short of beating her to death, calling her ‘Erdogan’s whore’. The young guys who hurled stones tried to work out an escape strategy for me. They told my companion, ‘Take her by the hand, pretend you two are in love and walk in front of the police. Hopefully they will let you go safely.’ Unfortunately the plan wouldn’t work: I had left my gloves in the hotel, and a gloveless woman cannot touch a Muslim man who is not her husband. My companion was keeping strictly to Muslim rules. Then came another gas attack, so we ran to the nearest hotel. The owner was so kind as to offer free rooms for a while to those who were carrying no money. I had some cash on me, so they gave me a single room where I stayed alone. Meanwhile, the protesters weren’t going anywhere. When the gas and dust settled down, they would yell again, ‘Erdogan must quit!’ The closer they came and the more garbage they hurled, the faster the security forces would respond with tear gas. Finally at 4 in the morning, the streets went quiet. At dawn, trucks were already collecting refuse at Istiqlal. Taksim was fully cordoned off by the police. The pink tractor, symbol of the unrest, had gone, and so had the protesters. We saw CNN journalists reporting live from the empty square in Istanbul, which would host a rally of Erdogan’s supporters later that day. …
Turkish riot police are driving thousands into narrow side streets, Reuters report citing witnesses, with water cannon vehicles advanced across the square. Struggling to disperse the crowd, riot police water- cannoned a disabled protester who was unable to leave Taksim. Barrage of gas being fired. About one canister every three seconds at the moment. — Simon Johns (@simonwjohns) June 11, 2013 Prior to that, protesters, mocking and calling for police to leave, confronted the forces. Read RT’s live updates on the Turkish protests. Some of protesters are burning colorful flares and fireworks. Fire could be seen in the crowd. Fire can be seen in a few locations across the square with the chaos raging at the cradle of the two-week long anti-government protest. Photo: occupygezipics: Taksim Sq at 8:15 PM, Tuesday. No one knows what (if anything) prompted the police to… tmblr.co/ZHMWksn6Negj — quite contrarian (@QuiteContrarian) June 11, 2013 Earlier Tuesday, police and protesters clashed over a new barrier inside the square. Hundreds of police took over Taksim Square, using tear gas and water cannon to oust the few protesters present there in the morning. The raid allowed the removal of barricades and banners. PM Erdogan praised the troops for removing the ‘rags’ as he’s branded the revolutionary symbols. At least 18 people were injured in Tuesday’s violence, medical officials said, reporting numerous broken bones and several head injuries, AFP reports. Following the crackdown, protesters said they have lost faith in the prospect of dialogue with Erdogan, who hours before said he would meet with protest leaders on Wednesday. Also on Tuesday some 30 to 50 lawyers protesting against the handling of the protest were reportedly detained in front of a courtroom in Istanbul. …
The latest vandalism attack saw offenders spray-painting their message on the walls of a Jerusalem church and damaging two cars parked nearby overnight. On Friday the Dormition Abbey outside the Old City’s Zion Gate in Jerusalem also reported the spraying of offensive graffiti in Hebrew and the destruction of the church property, The Jerusalem Post reported. Radical Jewish settler sympathizers are suspected to be behind the assault. The perpetrators wrote “the Christians are apes” and “the Christians are slaves” on two cars parked outside the abbey in Beit Ilu Ramllah. According to Israeli media, there has been a growing number of ‘price tag’ attacks in the country in recent months. In May, five vehicles parked on one of the main streets in East Jerusalem were vandalized in another price tag attack, allegedly by Jewish extremists. Price-tag attacks are the acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces by radical Israeli settlers to exact a ‘price’ from both parties for any actions believed to be taken against their settlements. In a showcase, Tel Aviv street cleaner Hassan Usruf was badly beaten up three months ago. “One of them said to me ‘Hi Arab’, I said, ‘Why do you say that? What’s the difference – Arab, Jewish?’ Then another guy came up to me and said ‘You want a country, Arab?’” Hassan Usruf recalled. The next thing he remembered was being hit on the head with a bottle. “Everything went black. I fell to the ground. They started kicking me and hitting me. My lawyer told me that when they were held by the police, they heard the kids competing among themselves who hit me the most,” Usruf told RT. The latest development provoked the prime minister to slam the violence. “I wish to condemn two phenomena that we have witnessed recently: Racism against Israeli Arabs and acts of hooliganism against Palestinians, without any provocation or justification,” Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday promising to “act with all legal means at our disposal to stop them.” ‘Segregating’ amusement park draws public anger Netanyahu also decried an act of segregation between Jewish and Arab school children at the Superland amusement park. On Thursday the amusement park near Tel Aviv said it would reexamine its policy of renting out the one-stop entertainment shop on separate days to Jewish and Arab schools after it reportedly refused to open its doors to an Arab teacher who wanted to take his class there on a school trip. The park management explained in a statement, cited by Haaretz, that in June many different schools wanted to conduct end-of-school-year events at Superland with requests from Jewish and Arab schools alike to conduct their events on separate days. “Only yesterday, for example, two reservations were received from Arab schools that had requested that the event would be for Arab schools only, with no schools from the Jewish sector. Similar requests have come from the Jewish sector,” the management added. “The Superland management is very sensitive to the desires and feelings of all its patrons. As a result, during the next few days we will reevaluate the decision to accommodate the schools’ requests to have separate days,” the statement informed. But some organizations, like the Shomer Hatza’ir Youth Movement that has become an educational and moral framework for thousands of young people in Israeli society, both Jewish and Arab, said they would not be going to Superland this summer after the management’s embarrassing behavior. “Racism is something criminal and sick that has to stop, and be put at the top of public discourse in Israel,” the movement explained in a statement. “If the Superland management conducts a thorough investigation and deals with those responsible for this embarrassing behavior, we will consider resuming cooperation with it.” Israeli youth ‘inspired by grown-ups’? While many blame the core structure of Israeli society and foreign policy for the gruesome situation, some also point out the young perpetrators could merely be following an example set by the older generation. “They get the inspiration from the grown-ups. You don’t show any signs you want peace, to live side by side, to resolve the conflict. So this stalemate causes tension, and all the wars and all the incidents and clashes that we see in the occupied territories and the general militant atmosphere creates a conflict which leads to hatred and legitimacy for violence,” member of the Knesset Esawi Frej told RT. The director of Child and Adolescent Clinical Services told RT that the youngsters behind the attacks probably suffer the psychological effects of surviving terrorist acts. “Those adolescents were exposed to terrorist attacks and developed post-traumatic symptoms… they tend to exercise twice as much risk-taking behaviors. Attacking innocent people just because they are Arabs, with no provocation whatsoever. And that’s very typical to people who feel in survival mode state,” Ruth Pat-Horencyzyk, explained. …
Turkey is entering its third day of violent protests as police have withdrawn from Taksim Square and allowed the mass protests to continue. Over 900 people have been arrested across Turkey for what the authorities called a security measure. …
22: 31 GMT: Witness says ‘military distriburting masks’ as police continue with the teargas, adding that it appears ‘the military haven’t been reined in by the government.’ 22:26 GMT: Police started to throw gas bombs and started to fire up the tyres near Talimhane#occupytaksim #occupygezi twitter.com/elifabidinoglu… — Elif Abidinoğlu (@elifabidinoglu) May 31, 2013 22:24 GMT: Police said to have used plastic bullets, causing more severe injuries. 22:15 GMT: Six out the twelve protesters injured so far have incurred serious head trauma. 22:00 GMT: 12 protesters injured, 100 receive minor injuries. 20:00 GMT: Police carry out dawn raid against protesters. 21:39 GMT: Armored patrol on streets of Istanbul tonight. (Photo by Emine Sevim) #Turkey twitter.com/AnupKaphle/sta… — Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) May 31, 2013 21:00: GMT: A video shows police using water cannons to disperse protesters at Istanbul’s landmark Taksim Square. …
Fear and anger in southeast London after murder of… 24/05/2013 04:06 CET
UK police arrest two new suspects in soldier murder 24/05/2013 06:05 CET
Family of soldier killed on London street hold… 24/05/2013 20:15 CET
British PM says country ‘will never give into terror‘… 23/05/2013 14:04 CET
Women tells how she tried to calm the suspects in the… 23/05/2013 20:47 CET
As tributes continue to pour in for the soldier killed on the streets of London on Wednesday, Britain’s Communities Minister has defended the security services.
Eric Pickles praised the thwarting of “a number of similar plots” after it emerged the two suspects had been known by British intelligence agency MI5.
Michael Olumide Adebolajo, 28, and a second suspect not yet named are being treated in separate hospitals after being shot by armed police. The two men have not been questioned yet.
The soldier’s killing has been condemned by religious and community leaders across the country.
Speaking at a gathering of some of these leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg praised their response.
“Terrorism has no religion, because there is no religious conviction that can justify the kind of arbitrary, savage, random violence that we saw on the streets of Woolwich. So thank you for speaking out as forcefully as you have done,” said Clegg.
The website for military support charity Help for Heroes crashed under the weight of new donations.
One woman described why she had chosen to leave flowers close to the scene of the killing in South London.
“It’s touched me, it really has. People should come out and lay as many flowers as they can. [Our feelings about the killings should be expressed] through protest… not [by] marching through the streets and taking it out on the police. Show it through flowers – and that’s what I’ve come here today to do,” she said.
Pointing at the floral tributes, another man added: “Look at all the flowers. We are sending a message out. We will stand together as a community.”
Drummer Lee Rigby had served in Afghanistan for six months in 2009. The twenty-five year old’s family said he had wanted to be in the army since he was a little boy.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Security services have been put to questioning after it was found that the two suspected Woolwich murderers had been flagged by MI5 for eight years. In response to the discovery, a House of Commons inquiry will be launched into the British security services’ handling of the murder.However, security officials maintain that despite having a record of the two suspects, the attack would have been near impossible to prevent. Intelligence expert Glenn Montravor said that the suspects – Mr. Adebolajo, 28, and Mr Adebowale, 22 – likely had no intention to commit such a crime, and that their time and target was chosen at random.“Even though our security services were aware of these perpetrators, it is almost impossible to predict when people suddenly, almost by happenstance, choose the time and place, and this poor unfortunate soldier was the target,” Montravor told RT.The two suspects were shot by police after hacking to death Army Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, in broad daylight on Wednesday in the Woolwich area of East London. They are currently in separate hospitals under police surveillance and awaiting questioning.“These sort of individualistic, lone-wolf style attacks, that don’t require great planning, don’t require some sort of specialist equipment, will become one of the main ways that people make a protest,” said Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer.It was found that one of the aggressors in the attack was a Muslim convert. Michael Adebolajo came to Islam later in life upon leaving university.Speculation has been rampant as to what drove the suspects to commit the murder – what the two men called an “eye-for-an-eye” act to avenge Muslims killed abroad by UK troops. Many have suggested that the attack was blowback against British participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.“If you listen to the words of the attackers themselves, it’s clear they wished to bring the war they saw on the streets of Baghdad and Kabul onto the streets of London,” Jamie Bartlett, a security expert from UK think tank Demos told RT.London Mayor Boris Johnson was quick to quash claims that the attacks were driven by extreme Islam or UK foreign policy. However, former Mayor Ken Livingstone accused Johnson of barefaced lying: “They are lying. They are completely complicit with the US policy just like Tony Blair was with George Bush. They aren’t prepared to stand up and say, well we think this strategy has been a disaster,” he told RT.‘We’re inspiring them’The UK’s military presence abroad is inspiring extremist attacks in Great Britain, an anonymous British solider told RT’s Sara Firth.“But also the argument’s to be made because we’re out there, we’re inspiring them or motivating them,” he told RT. “Our presence out there is sort of motivating the cells that are back in the UK to operate more and carry out more attacks.”UK Muslim groups have decried the attack as an abomination, and condemned extremism. Thousands of Ahmadiyya Muslims are expected to gather in London on Friday to offer prayers to Drummer Rigby. …