AFP – A group representing Turkey’s protesters on Wednesday urged the government to fire the police chiefs of Istanbul and Ankara and other cities where security forces have violently cracked down on political protests.
“We demand that those police chiefs… who are responsible for violence and pressure are dismissed,” a spokesman for the protesters told reporters as he read a list of demands after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in Ankara.
He also called on Ankara to release all protesters arrested since the anti-government trouble began nearly a week ago and ban the police from using tear gas against the demonstrators, blamed for scores of injuries.
“The steps taken by the government will define how developments will unfold,” said Eyup Mumcu of the Chamber of Istanbul Architects Union.
The meeting was held as thousands of striking workers from various unions began demonstrating in major cities nationwide in solidarity with the protesters.
In an attempt to defuse tensions, Arinc on Tuesday apologised to wounded protesters and said the government had “learnt its lesson”.
The violence first erupted after police cracked down on a peaceful rally in Istanbul against plans to redevelop Gezi Park, a rare green spot adjoining the city’s main aksim Square. The movement quickly swelled into broader protests nationwide and have left two young men dead.
The list of demands presented by civil society leaders after their meeting with Arinc included a call to abandon the controversial park project.