Turkish Twitter users are slamming Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government after a protest in support of Berkin Elvan, the 14-year-old who was put into a coma when a gas canister or rubber bullet hit him during demonstrations in Gezi in June, was met with a heavy police presence in the Istanbul neighborhood of Okmeydani.
As the group attempted to descend on the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan, police told the protesters that their demonstration was illegal, prompting authorities to hurl tear gas as people threw Molotov cocktails and rocks, the English-language Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.
Elvan was not part of the Gezi protest but was struck by either a gas canister or a rubber bullet – media reports vary – as police responded to the demonstration. The 14-year-old has been in a coma since the June incident after suffering multiple skull fractures, NTVMSNBC reported.
Monday’s protest in the Okmeydani neighborhood of Istanbul was held to seek justice for the officers involved in injuring Elvan, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Those following the Okmeydani protest slammed Erdogan for the crackdown on protesters as well as police tactics in calming tensions. On Twitter, the hashtag #DirenOkmeydani was trending worldwide.
“Here in so called Tayip's Democracy..People just try to make a human chain for 14 yrs old who'd been in coma by polic [sic[ attack,” wrote Twitter user @ysnslgn. “Is Turkey a democratic country? Everyday police showing the opposite by government support.”
“POLICE ATTACKS to PROTESTERS AGAIN,Turkey: Not a democracy for last 11 years,a facist-Islamist dictatorship,” wrote @GeekQD.
“People resisting to police and injuries are reported. Okmeydani is under teargas [sic] cloud,” tweeted @RedHack_EN.
One Twitter user said police were using tear gas during the Okmeydani protest and that rubber bullets were fired. They also posted the photo showing one alleged victim of the police response:
Another user posted a similar photo and said the alleged victim was shot in the head with a tear gas capsule: