The protesters seen throwing Molotov cocktails at the police in Taksim during today’s intervention were not affiliated with the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) despite carrying the party’s flag, an executive board member of the party has said.
Aziz Küçük said an effective police siege was surrounding the party office on Taksim’s Tarlabaşı, and officials were trying to break into the building. Later reports said the police had entered the building. The party has no relation with those that threw Molotov cocktails, Küçük added.
However, Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said on his Twitter account that a Molotov-throwing person who also carried a walkie-talkie and a possible gun was captured and “he is a member of the SDP.”
“The person whose photograph was shared on the social media claiming he was an undercover cop has been captured,” Gov. Mutlu wrote. “His name is U. B. and he is an SDP member. He spent six months in prison as part of the Revolutionary Headquarters trial.”
He also said 70 people were detained at the SDP headquarters and shared the photos of a gun and some knives, which he said were “confiscated inside the building.”
Live television footage showed a few Molotov cocktails being thrown at police officers at the beginning of today’s crackdown, which the city’s governor said aimed only to remove the banners in the area, in Taksim near Gezi Park. The Gezi Park protesters were quick to distance themselves from the clashers, saying on Twitter that they had never seen those who threw the Molotov cocktails in the two-week-long demonstrations.
A group of protesters attempted to build a buffer zone between the police and the clashing crowds to prevent either side from violence. An unidentified protester threw a Molotov cocktail at the buffer zone, however, a large number of protesters at the site claimed the Molotov-throwing protester was in fact an undercover cop.
Similar claims of undercover policemen inciting violence disguised as protesters have been surfacing all morning, with social media posts heavily accusing the government of attempting to delegitimize the protests.
The governor then however dismissed claims regarding undercover police presence at the site, which had been a strong and frequent rumor at the square, especially with photos surfacing of an alleged protester showing a bump in his pants similar to a police walkie-talkie or a gun.
“Walkie-talkies are things that are sold everywhere, and marginal groups use them for their own purposes. You can see that they use them for communicating with each other. The purpose of such acts can be seen clearly now,” Mutlu said.
11 June 2013