Students show solidarity with Istanbul rioters

Turkish students in Malta to hold second protest today in Floriana at 5pm.

A small group of Turkish students gathered yesterday afternoon at the Triton Fountain in Floriana to show support for anti-government protests in Istanbul.

What started out as an environmentalist protest against a proposed construction project in Gezi Park, central Istanbul, has escalated into full-scale riots after Turkish police cracked down on protestors using tear gas, pepper gas and water cannons.

At least two people are understood to have died on account of pepper gas inhalation.

"Imagine the American government proposed developing Central Park in New York. That is what they are trying to do in Istanbul," one student said (all protestors spoke only on condition of anonymity, fearing possible reprisals in their home country).

"We gathered here to protest against the government and in favour of freedom of speech," another demonstrator said. "There is no freedom in Turkey."

Gezi Park, he said, is the 'symbol of the revolution'.

"We want a change in government. It's not just about the environment - the Turkish government is imposing its views of religion on the entire country. They are trying to ban alcohol. They do not tolerate criticism or protest."

Protestors arrested by the Turkish police are being tortured, he added.

Yesterday's protest was attended by approximately 20 young people, aged between 16 and 30. A larger protest is being planned at the same venue for today, starting at approximately 5pm.

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Kieku kellna student BIL BAJD, hekk kienu jghamlu Malta meta tnehha il-Monument tas-Sette Guinjo, twarrab il-Monument tar-Republika u tnehhiet ghal dejjem PJAZZA HELSIEN biex giet fgata l'entratura tal-Belt! Hemm min ma jiflahx jara u jisma il-kelma HELSIEN f'dan il-pajjiz, l'importanti li had ma jcaqlaq l'istatwa tar-Regina Vittorja !