Unprecedented 5M people attend historic Istanbul rally

Massive pro-democracy gathering of people is believed to be largest of its kind for a political rally anywhere in the world

Ahmet Sait Akçay   | 07.08.2016
Unprecedented 5M people attend historic Istanbul rally



An estimated five million people attended the Democracy and Martyrs' Rally in Istanbul on Sunday, according to the Istanbul Police Department.

The massive gathering of people is believed to be the largest of its kind for a political rally anywhere in the world.

The turnout was so huge that people were packed near the Yenikapi rally stage, the Kennedy Street, Eminonu and Zeytinburnu districts.

Millions of people had flocked to Yenikapi from all districts of Istanbul. Public transport, including the metro system, buses and ferry service was provided free of cost to all people in the city. Also, the Istanbul municipality delivered five million water bottles and one million food packages for free to the participants. The municipality had provided the services of 7,000 buses; 203 boats and 10 ferries were also available for the participants.

There were strict security measures in place during the rally; around 25,000 police personnel had been deployed, while 728 health personnel were also at hand at the square. Helicopters also hovered above the rally as security boats remained on alert; 22 X-Ray machines and 165 gates with metal detectors were in place for security checks.

Besides security forces 2,500 municipal guards and 900 cleaners as well as 500 assistants were on duty during the rally.

More than a 100 ambulances remained on the ground; one sea ambulance and 20 fire trucks had also been reserved. Meanwhile, 50 buses were used for transporting disabled people.

Erdogan was the final speaker to address the massive crowd. It was the first time the leaders of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had shared a platform.

Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Turkey’s top cleric Mehmet Gormez also attended.

The Yenikapi event is the highlight of weeks of democracy rallies held in cities across the country since the defeated coup, which led to 240 deaths and wounded nearly 2,200 people.

Turkey’s government has said the coup was organized by the followers of Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999.

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