IMF/ WB Protests in Istanbul – Repression and Dispersion

7 Oct

Image from Patrick Hosking, Times Online

Image from Times Online

At least 50 people have been arrested in the IMF/WB protests in Istanbul according to reports from AFP (reproduced from Straits Times and Xinhua). Another Italian news website claimed that one 55 year old demonstrator died of a heart attack when the police started using tear gas.

The best ground reports however came from Patrick Hosing and Michael Dickinson from Times Online and Counterpunch. Based on these two accounts (and from mainstream media), the heavy police presence dealt with protestors that is typical of summit meetings. Tear gas, water cannon, pepper spray were used to disperse protestors.

According to Hosking, the police might have provoked the violence, “

… Before the violence flared three female protesters had managed to get within a few yards of the main entrance, mingling with the thousands of bankers and officials entering the complex.

As soon as they began to chant in protest, they were surrounded by both uniformed and plain-clothed officers who grabbed them, clamped hands to their mouths and frogmarched them to a police van with blacked-out windows.

At the back entrance to the congress centre – a mass of new buildings and roadways spread over a wide hillside area and surrounded by high temporary fencing – four dozen uniformed police marched in, many wearing helmets and carrying riot shields. A helicopter hovered overhead…”

Dickinson who was marching with the protestors witnessed how it began, “

The crowd of a thousand or so protestors in the square, angry though they were at the IMF conference being held in their city, were disciplined and polite, giving each other room and listening to the speakers who ranted from the microphones on the raised parapet. All of a sudden I noticed a line of police advance from the perimeter and heard a ‘Pat!’ ‘Pat!’ – the sound of firing.

‘They’re shooting,’ I thought, and suddenly the people nearest the police line were running away in panic…”

Prior to the meeting, activities have been held to protest against the IMF/WB meetings with no reported incidences of violence. Some of the events which are co-ordinated under the coalition banner of Resistanbul, saw a wide range of topics being discussed. They include a demonstration to fight against the cruel detention of refugees under current Turkish laws to a range of demonstrations to ‘make capitalism history’.

Watch an ITN short news clip of the protest and how it went awry:


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