Police clash with anti-govt. protesters in Istanbul

Police clash with anti-govt. protesters in Istanbul
# 21 November 2013 23:16 (UTC +04:00)

On Thursday, the protesters gathered in front of a courthouse where two people stood trial on charges of killing the 19-year-old, Mehmet Ayvalitas, during the Gezi Park protests.

The victim was run over by a taxi that rammed into a group of anti-government demonstrators back in June.

The taxi driver and the owner of the vehicle, who are charged with murdering the teenager, would be sentenced to a prison term of three to fifteen years if convicted.

Earlier this year, Turkey witnessed weeks of mass demonstrations after Turkish police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul's Taksim Square to protest against a proposal to demolish the Gezi Park on May 31.

The violence turned into nationwide demonstrations against the ruling Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators.

Several people were killed and many more injured and detained as police forcefully cracked down on the daily protests.

Erdogan faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis and the Turkish police were strongly criticized for using excessive force against peaceful protests.

Erdogan had described the protesters as vandals, looters or terrorists, and claimed the demonstrations were part of a plot to topple his government.