Turkey charges 36 Gezi protesters with terrorism

AFP , Friday 3 Jan 2014

People launch sky lanterns during a ceremony in memory of victims of violent anti-government protests in Istanbul December 31, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish prosecutors said Friday they have charged 36 protesters with terrorism over mass anti-government demonstrations that swept the country last year.

They face a range of charges including being a member of a terrorist organisation, illegal possession of hazardous material and terrorist propaganda, Hurriyet newspaper reported, quoting the indictment.

The suspects face between three and 58 years in prison if convicted.

The June demonstrations began as a protest against the planned destruction of an Istanbul park known as Gezi but snowballed into a nationwide outpouring of anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

"Protests that began in May went beyond a democratic reaction and turned into propaganda and demonstration outlets of terrorist organisations with the guidance of marginal groups," the indictment said.

"As a result, public property was destroyed, civil servants were incapacitated and security forces were injured."

It was not clear whether those indicted on Friday were among 255 people who were also charged in December over the unrest.

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