Denbigh man tear gassed


Gareth Hughes

A MAN from Denbigh has been caught up in violent clashes in Istanbul.

Tom Edwards, 27, who works as an English teacher in the Turkish capital, observed protesters in their fight against the government.

Protests began in Gezi Park, one of the city’s few green spaces over plans to redevelop the area.

Police stormed the site on May 31, and battles have raged in the city ever since – mostly centred in Taksim Square.

According to the former Ysgol Glan Clwyd pupil, the police response to the protests has been brutal.

He said: “It was worrying. The crowd can be like a flock of sheep, and fear spreads very easily.”

Tom, who lives in the Halicioglu area, around three miles from Taksim Square, also said the police have been using  tear gas.

He said: “There have been some horrific injuries. Canisters have struck people in the head. People have cuts and some people have lost eyes.

“I’ve been gassed a couple of times. It makes your eyes burn and well up at the bottom. It gets to the back of your throat and makes you cough.

“You can’t escape it. It surrounds you. You can’t run away. It’s just there. They were dropping it from a helicopter.”

According to Tom the protesters have come up with some inventive ways to combat the effect of the tear gas.

He said: “People have been using milk water and vasaline solutions too. Some people have been putting lemon in the eye.”

He added: “There’s been a lot of violence outside the Prime Minister’s office. That’s been a really brutal spot.

Though the demonstrations have made headlines all over the world, accoding to the
Tom, the coverage in the Turkish media has been minimal.

He said: “The Turkish channels were dead. There’s been a complete media blackout.

“While CNN were showing the demonstrations on state TV they were showing a documentary on penguins. It’s ridiculous.”

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has angrily defended the crackdown.

Addressing tens of thousands of supporters in Istanbul on Sunday, Mr Erdogan said it was his duty to order the eviction of the protesters in the city's Gezi Park the previous night.

Medical officials estimate that 5,000 people have been injured and at least four killed since the protests began.

See full story in the Free Press

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