Clashes in Istanbul over New Internet Law [Qatar News Agency]
(Qatar News Agency Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Istanbul, February 09 (QNA) - Demonstrations against a restrictive new internet law grew violent Saturday night, as hundreds of protestors clashed with police near Istanbul's main Taksim Square.
Anti-government demonstrators, who erected barricades near the square, battled police with rocks and fireworks. Police fought back with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.
Protestors set up barricades near the square, on a street between two hospitals. There were reports of numerous ambulances in the area, as well as many arrests. One press photographer was reported to be injured, and many money machines vandalised.
Opposition groups had called for a rally in Taksim Square to denounce the internet law, but Police closed off the square. Thousands of demonstrators chanted for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to step down.
On Thursday night the Turkish parliament approved amendments to its internet regulations that allow the government to block websites without a court order and mandate Internet Service Providers to store data for up to two years. The law must still by signed by President Abdullah Gul.
The European Union criticised Turkey for introducing tighter internet controls, urging a revision to comply with standards in the bloc that Ankara hopes to join.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that "the amendments to Turkey's already restrictive internet law would compound a dismal record on press freedom in the country, which is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide." Erdogan on Saturday said "no censorship" would be imposed upon the internet. Instead, Erdogan said, the law will make the internet more safe and free, the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported. (QNA)
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