Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Turkey rocked by riots; Prague flood alert; Gulf states eye Hezbollah Syria support; Hong Kong leader cleared

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Thousands clash with police in Turkey
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Turkey’s four biggest cities on Sunday and clashed with riot police firing tear gas on the third day of the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years.

The din of car horns and residents banging pots and pans from balconies in support of the protests resonated across neighbourhoods in Istanbul and Ankara late into the night, as hundreds of demonstrators skirmished with riot police.

Roads around Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s office in Istanbul were sealed off as police fired tear gas to push back protesters, and police raided a shopping complex in the centre of the capital Ankara where they believed demonstrators were sheltering, detaining several hundred.

Erdogan blamed the main secular opposition party for inciting the crowds, whom he called “a few looters”, and said the protests were aimed at depriving his ruling AK Party of votes as elections begin next year.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said there had been more than 200 demonstrations in 67 cities around the country, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

The unrest erupted on Friday when trees were torn down at a park in Istanbul’s main Taksim Square under government plans to redevelop the area, but widened into a broad show of defiance against the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan said the plans to remake the square, long an iconic rallying point for mass demonstrations, would go ahead, including the construction of a new mosque and the rebuilding of a replica Ottoman-era barracks.

He said the protests had nothing to do with the plans.

“It’s entirely ideological,” he said in an interview broadcast on Turkish television.

“The main opposition party which is making resistance calls on every street is provoking these protests … This is about my ruling party, myself and the looming municipal elections in Istanbul and efforts to make the AK Party lose votes here.”

Turkey is due to hold local and presidential elections next year in which Erdogan is expected to stand, followed by parliamentary polls in 2015.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) denied orchestrating the unrest, blaming Erdogan’s policies.

“Today the people on the street across Turkey are not exclusively from the CHP, but from all ideologies and from all parties,” senior party member Mehmet Akif Hamzacebi said.

“What Erdogan has to do is not to blame CHP but draw the necessary lessons from what happened,” he told Reuters.

The protests, started by a small group of environmental campaigners, mushroomed when police used force to eject them from the park on Taksim Square.

As word spread online, the demonstrations drew in a wide range of people of all ages from across the political and social spectrum.

The ferocity of the police response in Istanbul shocked Turks, as well as tourists caught up in the unrest in one of the world’s most visited destinations. It has drawn rebukes from the United States, European Union and international rights groups.

Helicopters fired tear gas canisters into residential neighbourhoods and police used tear gas to try to smoke people out of buildings. Footage on YouTube showed one protester being hit by an armoured police truck as it charged a barricade.

For much of Sunday, the atmosphere in Taksim Square was festive, with some people chanting for Erdogan to resign and others dancing. There was little obvious police presence.

But in the nearby Besiktas neighbourhood, riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to keep crowds away from Erdogan’s office in Dolmabahce Palace, a former Ottoman residence on the shores of the Bosphorus.

There were similar scenes in Ankara’s main Kizilar square.

Erdogan is due to fly to Morocco on Monday as part of an official visit that also covers Algeria and Tunisia. Sources in his office said his trip would go ahead.

Erdogan has overseen a transformation in Turkey during his decade in power, turning its once crisis-prone economy into the fastest-growing in Europe.

He remains by far Turkey’s most popular politician, but critics point to what they see as his authoritarianism and religiously conservative meddling in private lives in the secular republic.

Tighter restrictions on alcohol sales and warnings against public displays of affection in recent weeks have also provoked protests. Concern that government policy is allowing Turkey to be dragged into the conflict in neighbouring Syria by the West has also led to peaceful demonstrations.

On Sunday, Erdogan appeared on television for the fourth time in less than 36 hours, and justified the restrictions on alcohol as for the good of people’s health.

“I want them to know that I want these (restrictions) for the sake of their health … Whoever drinks alcohol is an alcoholic,” he said.

Czech PM declares Prague flood emergency
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas declared a state of emergency for most of the nation on Sunday as swollen rivers caused by days of heavy rain threatened Prague’s historic centre and forced evacuations from low-lying areas.

Prague authorities limited public transport and planned to close underground stations in the centre of the city as water from the Vltava River overflowed into picturesque areas popular with tourists. The main train line connecting the capital and the east of the country was also shut.

Necas pledged 300 million Czech crowns ($15 million) for relief efforts and said another 2,000 troops were ready to support the 300 soldiers already helping to erect temporary barriers and pile sandbags in Prague and other areas.

“The government approved the declaration of a state of emergency which will enable a more effective rescue effort,” said Necas after an emergency cabinet meeting, adding that there was another 1.3 billion crowns available to help fund the clean-up operation.

In neighbouring Austria, torrential rain caused widespread flooding and landslides, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

The historic area of Prague is a UNESCO heritage site boasting hundreds of well-preserved buildings, churches and monuments dating back centuries, including the Charles Bridge straddling the Vltava which was closed due to high water.

The floods have killed at least two people and several people are missing across the Czech Republic. A Prague hospital and parts of the zoo were also evacuated.

Rising rivers have forced the closures of highways and railway lines throughout western and southern Bohemia. Utility companies reported outages throughout the region after floods damaged a number of substations.

“The water is about 50 metres from my house but it’s only 1 or 2 metres from other houses,” said Rory Pattison, an expatriate worker living in a village just outside Prague.

“We haven’t had an evacuation notice yet but everyone is making preparations just in case.”

The situation brought back memories of floods in 2002 that killed 17 people, forced tens of thousands from their homes and caused several billion dollars of damage across the country.

Water levels have not reached that point yet but weather forecasters predict the rain will continue for at le

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Myanmar3 hours ago

Burmese military media outlets say ethnic army killed 25 workers

Thailand5 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says drug suppression should to be a national priority

Thailand6 hours ago

Purchases of fancy street lamps being investigated for possible corruption

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | BKK parks re-open… nearly, tropical storm, airport security upgrade | June 14

Thailand7 hours ago

Missing fisherman’s body found in sea off Nakhon Si Thammarat

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

CCSA: We’re out of vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Ayutthaya hospital to test all staff for Covid after 18 test positive

Thailand8 hours ago

13 teenagers arrested in Chon Buri for partying, gathering

Crime8 hours ago

Crime Suppression Division seizes dozens of illegal firearms in a series of raids

Crime9 hours ago

Marijuana valued at 10 million baht seized in Nakhon Phanom, 2 arrested

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,355 new cases, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Almost 100% of teachers and staff vaccinated in Bangkok

Thailand11 hours ago

Almost 8 million register for stimulus scheme, app briefly goes down

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 best temples in Bangkok

Thailand11 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | What’s happening in Pattaya, Phuket sandbox, reopening for tourism

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending