Turkish police have prevented a rally by journalists who attempted to enter Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest the restrictions on media freedom in the country, Press TV reports.
On Friday, hundreds of journalists rallied to slam the harassment during recent anti-government demonstrations. They also called for the release of their colleagues who are in prison.
The journalists staged a brief sit-in after being blocked by the police and then dispersed.
Reports say that many journalists were detained and targeted by police during the demonstrations in the country and some were fired for siding with the protesters.
“We will continue our street protests. I cannot predict when the protests will end. The government should accept our proposal and stop the police violence. We want all our rights; they must honor our rights. The governments’ behavior is always negative. Our leader does not listen to us and provokes us,” said Hassan Huseyn Karabulut an activist.
Crackdown on anti-government protests in Turkey has claimed the lives of five people. The latest death occurred when a 19-year-old student succumbed to injuries he sustained during a police crackdown on a June 2 demonstration in the Turkish city of Eskisehir.
Turkey has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since May 31, when Turkish police broke up a sit-in staged at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest against a redevelopment plan which involved the demolition of Gezi Park.
The Turkish protesters said Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is one of Istanbul’s last public green spaces.
The protests soon spread to other cities across the country and turned into calls for the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last month, Turkish artists, journalists, and authors placed full-page advertisements in several newspapers, asking Erdogan to stop using divisive language.
On June 24, Erdogan praised the “legendary heroism” of police forces in quelling anti-government protests.
The Turkish prime minister has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis. Turkish police have been also strongly criticized for using excessive force against the peaceful protests.