Istanbul lawyers storm courthouse in protest

More than 2,000 lawyers staged a massive protest today inside Istanbul’s Caglayan Courthouse, where nearly 60 lawyers were detained in a police raid after protesting against the government over the Gezi Park unrest.

“Everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance,” “Resign, prosecutor,” “Prosecutor, look here, count how many we are,” were among the slogans the lawyers chanted.

Dozens of lawyers were detained for several hours by police at Istanbul’s Caglayan Courthouse yesterday for joining the Taksim Gezi demonstrations yesterday.

The chief prosecutor issued a statement today claiming the lawyers had disturbed the “public order,” and only few of them were wearing legal robes.

“An intervention by police became obligatory after a half hour of announcements calling the lawyers to disperse. The protestors physically resisted police forces, which ended with the injury of six police officers and five private security guards,” the statement read.

“Police terror is storming Turkey linked with the Turkish government’s political provocations,” Istanbul Bar Association head Umit Kocasakal said.

“Illegal use of gas canisters and plastic bullets targeting anyone around disregards our citizens’ safety. We are not bugs to be killed by gassing, we are human,” Kocasakal said.

A Special Forces Unit intervened in a protest being held inside the Caglayan Courthouse, leading to a number of lawyers on the ground.

All the lawyers were subsequently released. Around 100 lawyers had gone to the police station to demand the release of their colleagues.

The Ankara Bar Association also staged a protest marching through the Sihhiye district of the capital.

“This is an attack on every lawyer in Turkey,” the vice chair of the bar, Sema Aksoy, said.

The Ankara Bar Association asked who could have safety and guarantees on property in a country where lawyers are taken from a courthouse by police. It also said it would follow the issue closely and that it would protect the rights of the detained lawyers, who belong to the Istanbul Bar Association.

“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 a Turkish daily.

The western province of Izmir and eastern province of Tunceli also saw protests by lawyers.

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