Turkish riot police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse hundreds of students demonstrating against the chopping of trees in an Ankara university campus for a controversial road development.
In one protest by some 100 students, 26 people were arrested as they were trying to march to the campus of the Middle East Technical University from Ankara city center, according to the left-wing student group Genc-Der which organized the rally, Agence France-Presse reported.
The protesters were attempting to plant trees in the garden of a public building, but were prevented by the police, the student group’s representative told AFP.
A separate demonstration later on Saturday saw some 200 protests walking into the construction site with police firing tear gas and using a water cannon to break up the crowd.
Protests in Ankara and other cities, against the plan to build a road through the campus to reduce traffic congestion in the capital, have been occurring occasionally.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week denounced those who opposed the project in Ankara as “modern bandits,” according to AFP.
A proposed redevelopment of Gezi Park in Istanbul sparked demonstrations which saw an estimated 2.5 million people take to the streets over three weeks demanding an end to what is seen as Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
Five people were killed and 8,000 injured during the three weeks unrest, according to the Turkish doctors’ union.