ISTANBUL – Thousands of Turkish activists are preparing to demonstrate in Istanbul and other cities, calling for greater democratic freedoms. They are marking the first anniversary of nationwide anti-government protests.
Turkish news reports said that 25,000 police officers and up to 50 water cannon vehicles would be deployed around Istanbul on Saturday. Huseyin Avni Mutlu, the city's governor, said authorities would not tolerate "any kind of negative aims" and "wrong practices" by protesters.
In late May and June last year, hundreds of thousands of Turks protested Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly autocratic style of government and demanded greater freedom. Thousands were wounded. At least 12 people have died in anti-government protests in the past year.
Erdogan has characterized the protests as part of an international plot to thwart Turkey's development.