Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Turkey: Trade unions prepare for strikes following police crackdown against activists

A protester tries to remain standing as police water cannon fires water during clashes in Taksim square in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Hundreds of police in riot gear forced through barricades in Istanbul's central Taksim Square early Tuesday, pushing many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week into a nearby park. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
A protester tries to remain standing as police water cannon fires water during clashes in Taksim square in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Hundreds of police in riot gear forced through barricades in Istanbul's central Taksim Square early Tuesday, pushing many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week into a nearby park. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

Turkish trade unions are gearing up for strikes in response to a widespread police crackdown against activists defying government attempts to end weeks of street protests.

Today's call for the one-day walkout is aimed at maintaining pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

On Saturday, riot police emptied Istanbul's Gezi Park of activists behind an 18-day sit-in that began as a demonstration against government plans to rip down trees and redevelop the park. It then spiralled into a nationwide protest, with the park's neighbouring Taksim Square becoming the movement's epicentre.

Police maintained a lockdown on vehicle traffic on the square today.

Thousands of protesters tried to regroup in the area yesterday, only to be turned back by riot police firing tear gas and water cannon.

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