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Middle East

Turkey police fire tear gas at Ankara protesters

Turkish soldiers secure the area as vehicles carrying detained Turkish army officers arrive at a courthouse in Ankara September 6, 2013, prior to a hearing as part of the trial of Turkey's former army chief over a 1997 bloodless coup that toppled a pro-Islamic government. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN

ANKARA: Turkish police on Friday fired tear gas at dozens of university students in Ankara protesting a municipal project to build a road across part of their campus.

Police detained 14 people during the demonstration outside the Middle East Technical University (METU) against the city's plans, which include uprooting a large number of trees both inside and outside the campus.

University students began a sit-in protest in the summer. METU's campus is one of the largest green spaces in the Turkish capital.

A peaceful sit-in to save Istanbul's central Gezi Park and its 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into nationwide protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen as increasingly authoritarian.

Five people were killed and thousands injured during the unrest, which presented the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government with its biggest challenge since it came to power in 2002.

 

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