Police violence has become widespread in Turkey. On the night of Saturday August 03rd there was a call on Twitter with the #MilyonlarTaksime (Millions to Taksim) hashtag to protest the closing of Gezi Park again in Taksim. As it is understood from the ‘Millions’ this was simply a “trolling” case and it was aimed to manipulate Governor of Istanbul and police forces to take unnecessary precautions out of fear that that many people might actually show up. However the Governor and the chief of police in Istanbul took measures; thousands of riot police, over a dozen TOMAs (Riot Intervention Vehicles) and ‘Spiders’ which are rapid shooters to disperse riot crowds.
As streets were empty of protesters, police chased the ‘invisible men’ running up and down streets, which started a random protest by people walking around, shopping. A few dozen people started randomly shouting without drawing attention to themselves and these few protesters faced intervention by police with batons and water cannons. TOMAs started spraying chemicals on people randomly on Istiklal Avenue and by the end of the night 40 people were detained.
While these were happening around Gezi Park, police went out hunting “protesters”. They started to attack civilians with colored rubber bullets. When it became obvious that the protest is not actually taking place, they started to spray tourists with water cannons. They detained a person who was sitting and smoking and they intimidated him because he was smoking publicly during the month of Ramadan when many people are fasting according to Islamic belief.
In addition to these, police has beaten and detained two elderly people who were sitting in a restaurant, for no apparent reason. All these are the proof of the fact that police does not even try to legitimize their illegitimate interventions although earlier last month they were excused by officials stating that the policemen were “too tired and nervous” and thus they had attacked civilians with excessive force unleashing all the terror and brutality.
— Tugba Sivri