For the first time since the beginning of the countrywide protests which started over the demolition attempt of Istanbul’s Gezi Park, a crowd attacked the supporters of the demonstrations June 5 in the Black Sea town of Rize, homeland of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
However, a catastrophic rampage was avoided after an escalation of the tension over the course of two hours with the joint intervention of the town’s mayor, Halil Bakırcı, the deputy governor, and the local police chief.
A group of 25 to 30 members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB) were staging a protest in support of the Taksim Gezi Park demonstrations when a crowd gathered and began to respond to their slogans. Tension peaked as members of the crowd started to violently attack the small group. After the police’s intervention, the small group took refuge inside a building as the larger crowd blocked a central avenue and started to chant slogans.
The crowd attacked the TGB members again while they were being taken out of the building by the security officers. Police resorted to tear gas to prevent the protesters from attacking the group members. A woman was also injured during the incidents, Anatolia news agency reported.
Eventually, the Rize mayor and other top local officials arrived to convince the crowd to leave the area.
“We have calmed down our fellow citizens. We have ensured that they left the area,” Bakırcı told private broadcaster CNN Türk. Bakırcı also said the TGB members were not from Rize and denied that the incident had resulted in injuries. “There was some manhandling, but no physical injuries. [The incident] was the result of the reaction of a group, and we don’t know where it came from,” he added.
05 June 2013