Police block entry to Istanbul park on protest anniversary

May 31, 2015, 6:30 AM

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish authorities have deployed thousands of police to block entry into Istanbul’s Gezi Park, barring access to a few hundred demonstrators trying to mark the second anniversary of the start of the nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.

Holding carnations and shouting slogans, the protesters tried Sunday to march to Istanbul’s main square where Gezi is located, but were blocked by police. They dispersed after delivering speeches and leaving carnations on a street leading to the square.

Hundreds of thousands of Turks took to the streets denouncing the government’s increasingly autocratic leadership in late May and June 2013. The protests were sparked by opposition to government plans to uproot trees at Gezi to build a shopping center. Thousands were wounded and at least 12 people died in protests that year.

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Police block entry to Istanbul park on protest anniversary