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11 Jun, 2013 12:26

Turkish police 'attack' protesting lawyers at courthouse, many arrests (VIDEO)

Turkish police 'attack' protesting lawyers at courthouse, many arrests (VIDEO)

Turkish police have taken several dozen lawyers into custody for joining the ongoing protests. The arrests in Istanbul come as police launched a crackdown on protesters in the city’s Taksim Square.

The lawyers were seized at the Caglayan Courthouse on Tuesday by troops of the special forces unit, reported Hürriyet Daily News.

Bir fotoğraf daha... twitter.com/GSedakilic/sta…

— Seda Kılıç (@GSedakilic) June 11, 2013

The newspaper says at least 50 people have been arrested, while other sources put the number as high as 70. A list of 24 people has been circulating. Caption reads: "A list of solicitors who had been detained (or part)"

Gözlaltına alınan avukatların listesi. (ya da bir kısmı) twitter.com/budamibuda/sta…

— Kübra Kaçtıoğlu (@budamibuda) June 11, 2013

Witnesses said the police were acting harshly in overpowering the lawyers. Some described the entire operation as a blatant attack by the police troops.

Lawyer Fatma Elif Koru described the ‘brutal’ arrest of 49 of her colleagues as they presented a press statement at Istanbul's Çağlayan court.

Elif told a Guardian reporter: "We were just gathering to make a press statement about Gezi Park and then the police attacked. It was very brutal. Now 49 lawyer friends are in custody and many are injured.

They even kicked their heads, the lawyers were on the ground. They were hitting us they were pushing. They built a circle around us and then they attacked.

This is the police brutality towards lawyers!! Now! Çağlayan @cnn @bbcbreakingtwitter.com/asumandeniz/st…#direngeziparkitwitter.com/ecem_onal/stat…

— ecem önal (@ecem_onal) June 11, 2013

Around 100 Turkish lawyers have gathered outside the police station demanding that their colleagues be released. “The detainment of the lawyers at the courthouse by force brings the question of what kind of a ‘democratic regime’ we are living in,” said the Bar in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News.

The lawyers were arrested hours after Turkish riot police marched into Taksim Square, a place of mass anti-government rallies for the last 10 days. The troops used tear gas and water cannons to prevent activists from entering the area. Officials said the move was necessary to remove barricades, banners and graffiti left by the protesters.

@anonmx_df More than 50 lawyers are being arrested in Caglayan Court House for protesting the intervention at Taksim. twitter.com/nrtbjk/status/…

— NURETTİNCELIK (@nrtbjk) June 11, 2013

The arrests come on the same day that police used water cannons and tear gas to take over Taksim Square in Istanbul from anti-government activists. Police removed protest banners from buildings overlooking the square. The prime minister hailed the move, which he described as tearing down “rags”.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated on Tuesday that he has ‘no more tolerance’ of the protests, which have been continuing for nearly two weeks. He claimed that 95 per cent of the people in Taksim Square were not even aware of the location of the Gezi Park before the protest started, and also lashed out at social media over what he called the spreading of lies.

Turkish police arrested more than 70 LAWYERS for protesting the government. #occupygezi#direngeziparkitwitter.com/57UN/status/34…

— Stun ☠ (@57UN) June 11, 2013