About six thousand students blocked the Izmir to Ankara highway in Turkey on Wednesday (23 January) to protest against the clashes between police and workers on Tuesday in the state-run factory in Izmir.
GV Burning petrol on highway near Izmir and police putting out fire
SV Demonstrators sitting on roadside and police remove burning article from highway
GV Military convoy along highway
SV Burning debris at roadside as cars pass
SV Soldiers taking positions near Aegean University
SV Armed soldiers take cover near university (3 shots)
SV Wounded policeman helped away
SV Students come out of university gates and take cover
TV Wounded policeman carried from University grounds to ambulance
SV Students with hands on heads emerging from grounds
TV Police beating students with truncheons and rifles as they leave university (2 shots)
SV Arrested student huddled together on ground ZOOM INTO student with blood on hands
GV Students escorted to trucks
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Background: About six thousand students blocked the Izmir to Ankara highway in Turkey on Wednesday (23 January) to protest against the clashes between police and workers on Tuesday in the state-run factory in Izmir. The factory clash developed when police tried to search the building for guns. Two hundred and fifty workers were taken into custody after the two-hour battle. In the student protest, thirty-six students and police were reported injured and five hundred and thirty students taken into custody.
SYNOPSIS: This was just the latest in a wave of political violence in Turkey over the past two years. Eighteen hundred political killings occurred last year and about two hundred since Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel took office less than two months ago. Earlier this month (January) the Armed Forces Commanders issued a earning that they were ready to take over if the politicians could not contain the violence.
The students cut of the traffic on the way from Izmir to Manisa, a neighbouring province, by burning tyres and other debris. When police units arrived, the students opened fire, and the battle was on. Students threw hand grenades and Molotov cocktails, and set fire to a police armoured vehicle. Then the students returned to the Aegean University campus where the battle continued, and more students and policemen were injured.
The plight of millions of Turks under the country's economic crisis is being aggravated by the coldest winter in thirty years. With the temperature in Ankara plunging to twenty-vive degrees Centigrade (minus 13 Fahrenheit) below zero and minus thirty-vive Centigrade (31 Fahrenheit) further east, the chronic shortage of fuel is biting hard.
Virtually all schools and universities have closed down for lack of heating, and many hospitals, although given fuel priorities, have had to do the same.
There are food shortages, daily power cuts to save electricity, and the domestic gas pressure is often too low for cooking. The daily pressure and hardships are adding up to explosive violence. The Turkish Lower House passed legal amendments on Monday (22 January) aimed at curing political violence. The amendments would restrict sports associations -- thus banning two major police political associations, one left-wing, the other right-wing.
These association have split the Turkish police force into two camps for a long time. Other non-political associations would be also be barred from political activities, meaning that teacher and student associations, long politically active in Turkey, would face severe restrictions.
Hundreds of students were taken into custody and no report has been made on what charges they face.