Riot police charge protesters at IMF, World Bank gatherings

Turkish police have detained scores of demonstrators and used tear gas and water canons to break up street protests in Istanbul, where the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are holding their annual meetings.


REUTERS - Turkish police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse hundreds of people protesting against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank during their annual meetings in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Riot police armed with shields and firing gas canisters rushed to disperse protesters in Taksim square, only a few hundred metres (yards) from the IMF-World Bank meetings.

“Long live freedom. IMF get out of our city,” protesters chanted.

Police detained around 100 people, some for throwing petrol bombs near the convention centre where finance ministers, central bankers and economists have been meeting to discuss the global economy, broadcaster CNN Turk reported.

The main square and surrounding streets were largely returned to calm by midday, although police were still pursuing small groups of protesters, who appeared to be largely Turkish, in side streets.

The protests were organised by several Turkish unions.

Protesters huddled in hotel and shop entrances rubbing their eyes affected by tear gas fired into the crowd by riot police.  Some covered their faces with red scarves. The main pedestrian Istiklal street was briefly deserted as people fled the clashes.

The front windows of several banks were smashed. Police later led out of one branch staff and customers who had been hiding on the first floor of the building. The screens of cash machines at several banks were also smashed.

One student was temporarily detained last week after throwing his shoe at IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn during a speech at an Istanbul university. The shoe missed its target.

There is significant opposition among Turkish students to the IMF, which helped bail Turkey out of a deep financial crisis in 2001. Turkey and the IMF are negotiating a possible new loan agreement after the last one expired more than a year ago.


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