ISTANBUL, July 28 Turkish police detained three
people on Sunday after a group of protesters tried to hold an
Islamic fast-breaking meal in a park in central Istanbul that
has been the flashpoint for anti-government demonstrations.
At least four more people were detained a few hours later
following the iftar, the dinner held each evening during the
holy month of Ramadan, which was organised by protesters on a
street nearby, witnesses said.
They said police backed by armoured vehicles approached the
crowd in order to disperse it, and people began shouting
The iftar, attended by hundreds of people, was supposed to
be have been held at Gezi Park, the green space where protests
first erupted in May, but police blocked the main entrance to
Gezi re-opened earlier this month after authorities cleared
out thousands of protesters who had occupied it in June to
prevent its demolition and the construction of a replica army
barracks that were originally to house a mall.
The small environmental movement quickly mushroomed into the
largest demonstrations Turkey has seen in three decades, and
five people were killed in clashes with police.
Protesters were angered by what they saw as Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan's authoritarian style and increasing religious
conservatism after his party spent 10 years in office.
The plan to raze Gezi has been suspended by an Istanbul
court, and Erdogan has said he will respect the judiciary's
decision. Sporadic clashes still occur near Gezi as police
intervene in planned demonstrations.
(Reporting by Osman Orsal, writing by Ayla Jean Yackley;
editing by Mike Collett-White)