Raw video of police firing at environmentalist protestors in Ankara.
Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors who were fighting the demolition of a forested area in Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (METU), in another example of industry steamrolling through the environmental movement. Between 200-300 protestors gathered at the entrance to METU try to stop demolition teams from clearing a forested area so that they could build a road through campus. Protestors erected barriers and threw stones at police, who were much better armed. Police shot rubber bullets into the crowd and set off tear gas canisters.
The area being built through is one of the largest green spaces in the Turkish capital. Protestors previously held sit-ins to fight the plans to the development in Ankara. Business, however, brings in money, and the environmental effects of clearing one of Ankara’s largest green spaces won’t be felt for years. The money that the University gets from the road will come in quickly. The environmental movement faces this issue time and again: the money is on the other side, and that tends to mean that the police are on the other side as well. Advocacy gives way to sit-ins, which give way to direct action, which gets broken up by the police.
The violent breakup of the protest comes just days before police finally closed Gezi Park in Istanbul, the site of previous protests which turned violent once police entered with riot gas and rubber bullets. Gezi Park is also being cleared for construction.
Cities need green spaces in the long term, but in the short term, the money tilts toward being an anti-environmentalist, and the short term is how most people in power make their decisions.