Turkish students, police clash at university in Ankara

January 5

A group of students clashed with police Wednesday as they gathered to march to the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Ankara, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.

Some 500 students gathered at Middle East Technical University in Ankara for an intended march to the AKP’s headquarters to denounce recent police crackdowns on student protests and demand university reform, Agence France-Presse.

Police barricaded the group’s path and told the students they were only permitted to make a press statement.

A large force of riot police blocked the gates of the university to prevent the march, prompting hails of stones and plastic bottles from the students, who brandished a giant banner reading, “We are rebelling.”

Police then dispersed the group with tear gas and pressurized water when the students insisted on marching, Hürriyet reported.

At least one person, a cameraman, was injured in the head by a stone, according to an AFP correspondent.

Student anger at the government has grown since last month when heavy-handed police response to protests in Istanbul and Ankara unleashed a torrent of criticism against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.

On Dec. 4, baton-wielding officers hit and kicked left-wing students who were gathering in Istanbul to demonstrate against Erdoğan, causing one young pregnant woman to miscarry.

Erdoğan defended the police, accusing the students of links to underground groups and blasting extensive media coverage of the events.

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