Turkish police clamp down on student protest

Turkish police used batons and tear gas to stop university students staging a protest Saturday against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, detaining some 50 people, broadcaster NTV reported.

NTV footage showed officers take on a group of around 150 young people in Istanbul’s outskirts, hitting them with truncheons and spraying them with tear gas.

The group from Ankara had refused to disperse and insisted on traveling on to Erdoğan’s office in central Istanbul, where the prime minister had a meeting with university rectors, the channel said.

They were barred from entering the city and put back on their buses.

The security forces also used tear gas as they clashed with several dozen students who marched in the city center toward the venue of Erdoğan’s meeting with the academics, chanting slogans for university reform.

Several protesters were seen hitting the officers with the flags they brandished.

Nearly 50 students were detained, according to NTV.

Police had taken “extensive” security measures early in the day, both in downtown Istanbul and at the city’s entrances, in expectation of the protesters, Anatolia news agency reported.

Student anger at the government has grown since last month when 18 students were given suspended sentences of 15 months in jail for staging an “unauthorized demonstration” when Erdoğan visited the Istanbul Technical University in 2008.

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