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Police charged in Gezi Protest attack

Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office demands three-year-sentence for Turkish policeman who pepper sprayed in the face of a female protester

Police charged in Gezi Protest attack


Turkish policeman Fatih Zengin, who sprayed pepper gas directly into the face of protestor, Ceyda Sungur, who became known internationally as "the woman in a red dress" during the Gezi Park unrest last summer, has been charged with abusing his authority.

Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office issued an indictment, approved by the court on January 9, demanding that Fatih Zengin be given a prison sentence of up to three years for excessive use of force against the female protester. 

The prosecutor's office also demanded Zengin's dismissal from his post on the grounds that no warning was issued to the protesters prior to the incident.

The indictment stated that Zengin, who sprayed tear gas at a group of protesters, including Ceyda Sungur, acted contrary to supplier's instructions for using tear gas during mass incidents.

Ms. Sungur, an academic who was wearing the red dress, had gone to join the protests but found herself in front of a line of riot police.

One of them bent down and fired tear gas at her, leaving her gasping for breath.

Sungur's photograph became iconic during last summer's anti-government protests after the tear-gas-exposure incident. 

A photo journalist captured the moment, and the images soon went viral on social media, appeared as cartoons and as stickers and posters used by other protesters.

Gezi Park protests erupted in Istanbul at the end of May when protesters gathered to  prevent a demolition at Istanbul's city center, despite police intervening with armed vehicles and pepper gas in an effort to disperse demonstrators. 

Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his government's intentions to rebuild a replica of a historic artillery barracks on its original site at Gezi Park in the famous leisure and tourism district of Taksim Square.


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