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  Anger, bloodshed in Istanbul

Anger, bloodshed in Istanbul

AFP
Published : Jul 17, 2016, 12:54 pm IST
Updated : Jul 17, 2016, 12:54 pm IST

Draped in Turkish flags, people poured on to the streets and put up a stiff fight against the putschists.

People protesting against the coup wave a Turkish flag in Istanbul’s Taksim square. (Photo: AP)
 People protesting against the coup wave a Turkish flag in Istanbul’s Taksim square. (Photo: AP)

Draped in Turkish flags, people poured on to the streets and put up a stiff fight against the putschists.

Troops filed into Taksim Square uncertain of how they would be received. Before long, angry crowds had gathered to denounce them.

In the famous square where anti-government protests took hold in 2013, a huge crowd chanted against the putsch, draped with Turkish flags across their shoulders. The scenes were reminiscent of the mass demonstrations three years ago against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister. But this time, the crowds were on his side — and it was the military, badly outnumbered at a hundred against a thousand, who were the target of their ire.

“Military get out,” they chanted, crowding around a monument that marks the birth of the Turkish republic almost a century ago. “The people are afraid of a military government,” said Dogan, 38. “Most of them have been in military service — they know what a military government would mean.” As a helicopter flew overhead the crowd began to boo, shaking their fists at the night sky. Then there was horror as the soldiers opened fire.

At least three people were hit. One man lay bloodied on the ground. Ambulances arrived, their blue lights illuminating the angry faces of the crowd. “The military, they did this! Murderers!” screamed one man above the shouts of the crowd.

Minutes later riot police poured out of trucks, brandishing their shields and clearing the space. Soldiers also opened fire at thousands of civilians trying to cross the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge across the Bosphorus by foot leaving tens of people injured.

Shops had closed hurriedly as news of the coup attempt broke. Dozens queued at ATMs to get money, worried about what the next days might bring. In the bustling streets of Istanbul’s Sisli neighbourhood, people panic-bought water before disappearing into their homes, from where the loud sounds of live news broadcasts rang out. Parts of the city looked like a ghost town.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul